Before we get started on the Sussmann trial update, there’s one piece of business that needs to be addressed. Yesterday, I wondered how much the high-powered Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussmann was charging Hillary For America for his consequential little FBI visit. Those fancy DC lawyers cost a pretty penny --- I was thinking $500-600 an hour. That kind of money adds up fast, into the millions, and it’s why Michael Flynn had to sell his house to defend himself against limitless malicious prosecution.
But I have to admit, we were wrong. A top DC lawyer is apparently even pricier. As Miranda Devine at the NEW YORK POST put it, “[Sussmann] is hoisted by his own petard because he couldn’t help but charge the Clinton campaign $800 per hour...to perpetrate this dirty-tricks campaign against Donald Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton.”
That’s right, folks, $800 per hour. But, hey, Sussmann billed just 3.3 hours for the day, and given the events he set in motion with his visit to FBI general counsel James Baker, Hillary must have thought it was money well spent! As Devine said on “FOX & Friends” Thursday morning, “She sanctioned, she approved this attempt to dirty-up Donald Trump and paint him as an agent of the Kremlin. The ramifications of that dirty trick went on, crippled the Trump presidency, did great damage to this country, [and were the] source of a lot of the rancor and division that we see now.” What a bargain!
And it was a drop in the bucket, considering the millions Perkins Coie was already receiving to fund Fusion GPS and, through them, the Steele “dossier.” Fusion GPS only paid Christopher Steele $168,000.
Devine summarized: “It may seem that the charge [against Sussmann] is small, but actually, the ramifications and the report that will come from John Durham are momentous. And we should all pay very close attention to it.”
Now, let’s catch up on Day 9 of the trial. First, we learned that closing arguments will begin Friday morning because Sussmann is not taking the stand in his own defense. (Too bad, but did anyone seriously think he would?) On Thursday morning, he declined to testify, and the defense rested.
Also, Durham has just been handed a potentially serious problem. In a couple of rulings Thursday, the Obama-appointed and heavily conflicted judge in this case, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, erected some huge obstacles for the special counsel. As legal analyst Andrew C. McCarthy wrote for FOX News, they are a “predictable but damaging blow to the prosecution” that make his case against Sussmann much harder to prove to the jury.
First, even though the text Sussmann sent to Baker is THE smoking gun –- ironclad proof that he lied to Baker –- Judge Cooper ruled that prosecutors must rely not on that text but on evidence that he actually told the lie the following day, while meeting with Baker, in Baker’s office at the FBI. That’s the insane degree of hairsplitting that is going on.
It stems from a legal technicality. McCarthy explains it in detail, but in a nutshell, it’s because at the time of Sussmann’s indictment, prosecutors didn’t have the text, so he wasn’t charged for THAT lie. Why, then, didn’t Durham create a superseding indictment that included both lies as separate counts? The problem is that the five-year statue of limitations was about to kick in when Durham charged Sussmann with lying in Baker’s office. The text to Baker didn’t come to Durham’s attention for another six months –- when Baker says he found it and turned it over –- and by then the statute of limitations had lapsed. Even just altering the original charging document to include anything about that text would invite legal objections. So Durham was stuck.
But, as McCarthy explains, the text isn’t out of the trial completely. It’s been presented in court, and Judge Cooper is permitting prosecutors to say it’s strong evidence that Baker’s memory is correct when he says Sussmann told him in his office that he wasn’t there on behalf of clients. What prosecutors can’t do is tell the jury that the Sussman’s text alone provides the proof he was lying (EVEN THOUGH IT DOES). Got that?
Unlike the text, Sussmann’s verbal lie is one man’s word against another’s. It was said with no witnesses and no notes taken. Baker said under oath that he’s 100 percent sure Sussmann said it, but other statements have been inconsistent, and Sussmann has pleaded ‘not guilty.” If it’s just a matter of who’s more believable, this jury is filled with DC Democrats who want to believe Sussmann. After all, he was just trying to save us from Trump!
Nick Arama at RedState.com had a similar take on what the judge did, even linking to McCarthy’s analysis. This judge has taken a case that should be simple and cut-and-dried, with the proof RIGHT THERE, and made it as hard to convict as he can. He wouldn’t even allow the tweets from Hillary that show how she capitalized with lightning speed on the Alfa Bank hoax. Judge Cooper was wrong not to recuse himself from this case; we’ve addressed his conflicts before and they are staggering.
Then there’s the jury. As Jonathan Turley has noted, “I mean, he [Durham] is facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team as Sussmann’s daughter. With the exception of randomly selecting people out of the DNC headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury.”
Between this judge and this jury, one might be reminded of the O.J. Simpson trial, except with Judge Ito replaced by Al Cowlings.
The media no doubt sense that this jury will acquit Sussmann no matter how strong the case against him, and that’s why they’re laying low right now. If he’s acquitted –- and the verdict might come as early as today –- they’ll spring into action and use the verdict to trash the whole Durham investigation, never mind what it has found.
And Durham continues to find a lot. Testimony from Wednesday revealed that Rodney Joffe was actually the same source for two separate “tips” that falsely connected Trump and Alfa Bank. So he needed Sussmann to lie and say he wasn’t approaching Baker on behalf of clients, so he, Joffe, could still hand off his phony evidence to other people in the FBI. Joffe himself was apparently (surprise) an FBI confidential human source. This is one more reason for Sussmann to lie.
Finally, while we wait for the verdict, here’s an excellent review of the Sussmann trial thus far. It calls the trial “part of a three-ring circus, showcasing sleazy political enablers, malfeasance by public officials and biased reporting.” We have to “walk behind the elephants with a huge shovel.”