WASHINGTON, DC — A former FBI official testified Thursday that he’s “100% confident” a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer denied acting “on behalf of any particular client” when he handed over since-debunked information linking Donald Trump and Russia.
“I think it was pretty close to the beginning of the meeting. Part of his introduction to the meeting,” former FBI general counsel James Baker told jurors in Washington, DC, federal court.
The testimony directly supports the sole count lodged against defendant Michael Sussmann as a result of special counsel John Durham’s probe into alleged law-breaking in connection with the FBI and Robert Mueller’s probes of purported Trump-Russia ties.
Sussmann, 57, is on trial on a single count of lying to the government during a Sept. 19, 2016, sit-down with Baker at FBI headquarters.
“He said that he was not appearing before me on behalf of any particular client,” Baker recalled.
“He had information of concern about an apparent surreptitious communications channel between Alfa Bank, which he described as being connected to the Kremlin in Russia, and some part of the Trump Organization in the US.”
Who’s who in the case
- Michael Sussmann: Cybersecurity lawyer who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign; charged with lying to the FBI
- Rodney Joffee: Former tech executive and Sussmann client who told him about a purported cyber back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank
- Christopher Steele: British ex-spy hired by Fusion GPS; compiled the infamous “Steele dossier” of reports on Trump and Russia
- John Durham: Special counsel investigating potential criminality in the government investigations of former President Donald Trump’s purported ties to Russia
- James A. Baker: Former FBI general counsel; received Alfa-Bank information from Sussmann
- Marc Elias: Clinton campaign general counsel, former partner of Sussmann’s at Perkins Coie law firm
- Judge Christopher Cooper: Presiding over Sussman’s trial in Washington, DC, federal court
- Peter Fritsch and Glenn Simpson: Former Wall Street Journal reporters who co-founded the Fusion GPS research company; worked for Clinton’s campaign
- Andrew McCabe: Former FBI deputy director; allegedly contradicted the basis for the charge against Sussmann during a 2017 briefing
Baker added that he was “100% confident that he said that in the meeting.”