Last Tuesday, one of Donald Trump’s biggest lies took a pretty major hit, as Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann was found not guilty of lying to the FBI by a federal court.
For years — literally — Donald Trump has insisted that Hillary Clinton engaged in a purposeful conspiracy designed to keep him out of the White House.
The probe into whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 election (it did) and whether it colluded with the Trump campaign to do so was regularly described by the former President as “the single greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”
The real story, according to Trump, was how the counterintelligence investigation into Russia began — a story that special counsel John Durham was going to get to the bottom of.
At the heart of what Trump called the “crime of the century” was an allegation by Durham that Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Clinton’s campaign, had lied to the FBI about his own interests in passing along a tip about Trump and Russia.
The network concluded that “The verdict is a major defeat for Durham and his Justice Department prosecutors, who have spent three years looking for wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia probe.”
Former US attorney Dennis Aftergut, in an article for The Bulwark, explained that while Sussmann, a cybersecurity attorney who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign, was charged with lying to FBI agents, that the case actually reeked of “prosecutorial overreach and political motives:”
“It seemed that Durham was trying to justify the public money he’d wasted boosting Trump’s false narrative that it was the big, bad Clinton campaign behind the Trump-Russia investigation.”
Sussman approached an acquaintance at the FBI with a tip he claimed was not offered “on behalf of any client,” about alleged communications between the Kremlin-associated Alfa Bank and the Trump campaign that were about to be reported in the media. Durham, however, failed to prove that Sussmann had revealed his suspicions of the communications as part of his work for Clinton.
Sussmann’s attorney pointed out that “There is a difference between having a client, and doing something on their behalf.”