There’s just one week to go before the Michael Sussmann trial starts in federal court. Last week, we discussed the material that Special Counsel John Durham wanted to include but that the defense was working to exclude. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled on that last Friday; Nick Arama at RedState has a good summary.
He sees Durham as being limited by this in some respects but still able to get most of his big-picture evidence in. On the downside, this judge doesn’t want to bring in evidence of the “joint venture” among Sussmann, Joffe and the Clinton campaign to smear Trump with the Alfa Bank story, because Sussmann hasn’t been charged with conspiracy. The judge said he doesn’t want to “confuse the jury” and “distract from the issues at hand.”
On the upside, evidence of the charged offense (the lie about working on behalf of Hillary’s campaign and Rodney Joffe) and also of Sussmann’s motive will be allowed in. That includes “evidence of Mr. Sussmann’s client work.” Joffe hasn’t been granted immunity and will have to testify, though this means the prosecution will have to steer clear of whether his actions were “objectionable or illegal,” and also any questions about the accuracy of his data.
But in another development, just as Sussmann’s attorneys, from the Democrat-connected firm Latham and Watkins, are trying to keep Durham’s evidence out, they’ve got their own “evidence” that they want the judge to let in. And what they want to use it for is essentially to put President Trump on trial for colluding with Russia. I am not kidding.
Think of it: they’re in federal court with a Washington DC jury that is probably very biased against Trump. They want to make this case not about their client but about...Evil Orange Man...and his Russia affiliations. For that, they have “evidence” they want to bring in, including a series of over 20 news articles about Trump and Russia that appeared between mid-May and mid-August of 2016.
News flash: articles such as these are not evidence of anything. Or, in Durham’s more lawyerly way of putting it, they have “no evidentiary or factual basis.” Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sussmann had planted some of those stories himself. That was part of the “circular reporting” strategy used by Clinton’s henchmen and even the FBI to advance the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory. It’s even part of how the FBI got their warrant to spy on Trump’s campaign, right along with the phony Steele “dossier.” Hey, how about reading excerpts from THAT to the jury?
As Cleveland describes it, “...the media coverage Sussmann seeks to present to the jury is a tour de force of the press pushing the Russia collusion hoax.” One of the articles she mentions quotes Hillary campaign manager Robby Mook, who generally gets credit for launching the whole fake Trump-Russia story. He did this live on the CNN convention floor, to distract from the breaking story about the DNC sabotaging Bernie Sanders’ campaign. These fairy tales are supposed to be evidence...of what?
But Sussmann’s attorneys want to include them to show that their client had genuine concerns that the Alfa Bank story was real. They think that if they can get a DC jury to believe he felt this way, the jury will let him off for lying. Unbelievable.
Cleveland says that even if the judge excludes this “evidence” as prejudicial, Sussmann can still make the argument on the stand, saying that he “approached the FBI out of a genuine concern for our national security.” Oh, brother. But if he shovels it on thick, a Trump-hating jury might just cut him a break.