- A lawyer who worked for a law firm that represents the DNC was charged with lying to the FBI.
- Michael Sussmann is accused of lying about the “capacity in which he was providing” allegations involving Trump Org. and a Russian bank.
- Prosecutors allege that he presented himself as a regular citizen and not as a paid Democratic-linked operative.
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A grand jury on Thursday charged a lawyer who was previously listed as working for the firm Perkins Coie with making false statements to the FBI. As of at least Thursday evening, his page on the firm’s website yielded a 404 error.
The grand jury that charged the lawyer, Michael Sussmann, was impaneled as part of the special counsel John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.
Specifically, then-Attorney General Bill Barr tapped Durham to investigate if officials at the FBI, Justice Department, or any other federal government agencies violated the law when launching the Russia probe, which examined whether Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with the Russian government.
Sussmann was charged with one count of lying to the FBI, and The Washington Post first reported his indictment. He’s accused of having “lied about the capacity in which he was providing” allegations to the FBI about what he claimed was a “secret communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank.
The indictment said Sussmann met with the FBI’s general counsel, Jim Baker, in September 2016, as it was investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia, and turned over three “white papers” and data files that he said contained evidence of a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
The charging document said that Sussmann lied to the FBI and said he was not working on behalf of any client, which led Baker to believe he was acting as a regular citizen and not as a paid political operative.
In fact, the indictment said, Sussmann was acting on behalf of someone described as Tech Executive-1, an entity described as Internet Company-1, and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Sussmann’s lawyers issued a statement to The Post on Wednesday, before he was indicted, saying his prosecution “would be baseless, unprecedented, and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work.”
They added that if he was charged, they were “confident” Sussmann would “prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”
Sussmann is the second person to be charged as part of the Durham investigation; last year, the former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to falsifying a document while working on the Russia probe.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.