(FiveNation.com)- Michael Sussmann, a Democratic cybersecurity lawyer, doesn’t want Special counsel John Durham to use Hillary Clinton’s tweet promoting the Trump-Russia collusion accusations he was pushing as evidence at trial. Sussman is charged with concealing his work for the Clinton campaign.
Sussmann was indicted for reportedly keeping his clients, The Clinton 2016 presidential campaign and former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe, secret from FBI general counsel James Baker. Sussmann allegedly promoted later-debunked claims of a hidden backchannel between Russia’s Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization on his clients’ behalf. Michael Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
Last week, John Durham told a federal court that he wanted a Hillary Clinton campaign tweet from October 2016 that pushed the Alfa-Bank conspiracy claim allowed as evidence at the May trial.
Durham said the tweet is not inadmissible hearsay since it would not be submitted for its veracity. Durham said he intended to introduce the tweet to prove the defendant’s attorney-client relationship with Clinton’s campaign, which is relevant to the false statement charge against Sussman.
In October 2016, Hillary Clinton tweeted that Donald Trump’s private email server was set up to communicate with a Vladimir Putin-tied Russian bank secretly. She also tweeted that Computer experts had uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. She later posted a long statement from Jake Sullivan, her then-campaign aide who is now Biden’s national security adviser. In his writing, Sullivan claimed that this secret communication ‘hotline’ could be the most direct link between Donald Trump and Moscow so far. He supposed this would force federal authorities to investigate.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, The CIA, FBI, and Durham’s investigative group found the Alfa-Bank claims lacking or false.
Sussmann’s defense lawyers argued the Clinton tweet sharing Sullivan’s statement and her promotion of the story, which originally appeared online in Slate, should be considered inadmissible. They claimed the Tweet was hearsay, and Sussman didn’t know about its existence.
But Durham claimed evidence would show at trial that Michael Sussmann, David Joffe, and others assembled and disseminated the Russian Alfa Bank allegations and other derogatory information about Donald Trump.
According to the indictment, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias sent emails to Jake Sullivan, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, and Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri about the Alfa-Bank claims Sussmann shared with the media. He also billed the Clinton campaign shortly before he met with the FBI.