Day 1 of the Michael Sussmann trial was devoted to jury selection, and in Washington, DC, the concern is that it’s virtually impossible to assemble a jury that’s not biased against Trump. Reportedly, there were members of the jury pool who were dismissed because they said they had such negative feelings towards Trump that they’d be unable to be objective. If that’s the case, their honesty is to be applauded.

But we also heard news reports that at least a couple of people who admitted to being very anti-Trump were selected as jurors anyway. The difference must be that they said under oath that they believe they can be objective. Hope they’re right about themselves.

On Monday, speaking with Jesse Watters on FOX News, Mollie Hemingway put this concern about the jury in perspective, saying that the purpose of having a special counsel investigation was to uncover the story of the Russia Hoax, and regardless of whether or not Sussmann is convicted on this one count of lying, that has been accomplished. She’s right; through John Durham’s court filings, we know there really was a “joint venture” involving Hillary For America, the DNC, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, the Brookings Institution, the FBI, Rodney Joffe, his team at Georgia Tech, and others. They all shared a “common interest,” which was to defeat Trump and elect Hillary.

In previewing the evidence that he was trying to get admitted in court, Durham essentially drew a map with all roads leading back to Hillary. And we know that the whole blasted story they pushed –- saying Donald Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin –- was a monstrous lie, a fraud perpetrated on millions of people, millions of VOTERS. Some actually still believe it, as ridiculous as it is to anyone who is not an idiot.

The charge against Sussmann, though certainly warranted and supported by the evidence, represents something much larger, as it has also offered Durham a vehicle to get more of the story out. Yes, this Obama-appointed judge, D.C. District Judge Christopher Cooper, has ruled to keep the “joint venture” communications away from the jury with dubious rulings on “attorney-client privilege,” but he can’t keep them away from the American public. And he can’t keep them out of Durham’s final report.

Margot Cleveland has a new piece about the trial; it ran Monday as jury selection was getting underway.

The attorney-client privilege argument cuts both ways. As Cleveland points out, when then-Fusion GPS employee Laura Seago refuses to answer on the stand because of Judge Cooper’s ruling that the testimony is “privileged,” (when she’s a “techie” who isn’t actually part of the legal conversation by any stretch), it will just drive home that Sussmann really WAS the attorney for Hillary’s henchmen, and that he was paid to do her dirty work.

On Tuesday, Durham intends to call Georgia Tech researcher Dave Dagon, who was given immunity from prosecution last summer. From Cleveland’s description of his role in the scheme, it appears his testimony is expected to create a timeline and to tie the players together in creating and pushing the Alfa Bank and Yotaphone hoaxes.

Cleveland didn’t mention it, but also on the witness stand, as early as Tuesday, will be none other than Marc Elias, general counsel for the 2016 Clinton campaign and the man most responsible for making election fraud in America easy and profitable (though that is a separate issue). It’s really too bad we don’t have cameras in federal court, especially when you think of the testimony we CAN watch, and I refer specifically to the Depp v. Heard civil trial. I’d gladly take a pass on that (which I already have) to watch Durham at work.

Anyway, first on the stand Tuesday will be FBI agent David Martin, who will be “an expert witness on computer matters,” according to the New York Post.

He’ll also testify about the significance of Sussmann’s lie relative to how it might have affected the FBI’s decision-making. The defense, understandably, has tried to bar that testimony, on grounds that seemed from reading the NYP story to be amusingly vague.

But the most encouraging news comes from Cleveland. Which is to say, as the trial goes on –- it will likely last about two weeks –- she expects a lot more to come out in court in the prosecution of Sussmann that will connect Hillary Clinton herself to Spygate. “The real loser...will be Hillary Clinton,” she says.

On Day 2 of the Michael Sussmann trial, federal prosecutors under the direction of special counsel John Durham gave an opening statement accusing Sussmann of using the FBI as a “political tool” to create an October surprise against 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump.

As Trace Gallagher on FOX News reported, they said it was “a plan that used and manipulated the FBI. A plan that the defendant hoped would trigger news outlets and trigger an FBI investigation. A plan that largely succeeded.”

It succeeded because, even though the claim was false, Trump and Russia were “forever linked in the court of public opinion.”

Assistant Special Counsel Deborah Brittain Shaw told the jurors, “He told a lie that was designed to achieve a political end, a lie that was designed to inject the FBI into a presidential election.”

Perhaps deliberately using a term that resonates with the left, she said, “This is a case about privilege...the privilege of a lawyer who thought that for the powerful, the normal rules didn’t apply, that he could use the FBI as a political tool...The defendant lied to direct the power and resources of the FBI to his own ends and to serve the agendas of his clients.”

Given that this DC jury is likely biased against Trump, Shaw addressed what she called “the proverbial elephant in the room,” the political context that threatens to influence jurors: “Some people have very strong feelings about politics and Russia,” she told them, “and many people have strong feelings about Donald Trump and Russia. But we are not here because these allegations involved either of them, nor are we here because the client was the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

“We are here,” she said, “because the FBI is our institution that shouldn’t be used as a political tool for anyone --- not Republicans, not Democrats, not anyone.” She urged them to keep their own political views out of the decisions they make in the courtroom. I’ve rarely known a leftist who could keep politics out of ANY decision, but maybe Durham found some.

“Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, whether we hate Donald Trump or love him, we have to believe the government is above politics,” the prosecution said, and that “the government should never be used as a political pawn.”

I would add, “...even though some in government –- Strzok, McCabe, etc. –- were happy to oblige.”

Legal analyst Andrew C. McCarthy told Brian Kilmeade on FOX News that in Washington DC, “the most political town in the country,” Durham’s biggest challenge will indeed be this jury. “This is not a home game for him in Washington,” McCarthy said. But Durham had no choice but to bring the case in Washington because that’s where the alleged offense took place.

McCarthy was impressed that they seated a jury in one day, but he does take that as a sign that this judge wants to move things along, not let Durham take time with a lot of “joint venture” testimony. So I suspect we might have to wait for the special counsel’s final report to see all the dots officially connected.

Moving to the defense, attorney Michael Bosworth argued that Sussmann is “a good man, a family man” who never tried to hide anything from the FBI, and that they knew he represented the Clinton campaign. (It appears, though, that they did NOT know he came to them specifically with the Alfa Bank story because Clinton was paying him to do it. He told them the opposite.)

Bosworth said it was known that Sussmann represented the DNC after their servers had been hacked by Russians. (Not that hacking by Russians has ever been proved.)

Bosworth called the charge “nonsensical” and said the lie would be “impossible to prove,” since neither man took notes at the meeting (NOTE: isn’t that, in itself, curious?) and Baker can’t possibly have a strong recollection of what was said after five-and-a-half years. He told the jury that Baker’s memory was “clear as mud.” Never mind that the jury will also see the same lie turn up in Sussmann’s text message to him.

Bosworth also asserted that Sussmann’s action didn’t benefit the Clinton camp in any way.

Now wait just a minute. Hillary still managed to lose the election, but considering that the bogus Trump-Russia story dominated the headlines literally for years; gave Hillary a bogus excuse for losing (one of many); cast a dark shadow on Trump’s presidency; and wasted his administration’s time, attention and money with the Mueller investigation, I’d say it was still a gift to her.

Bosworth insisted that Sussmann was motivated by national security, not politics. He said, “If [Sussmann] wasn’t motivated by an actual interest in national security, why did he go to the CIA, months after the election? He had a genuine interest in national security and doing the right thing.” But this reasoning makes no sense. If someone didn’t like the outcome of an election and wanted to get a President impeached, and he had an “in” with the CIA, he certainly might take them an allegation like this and try to get some action.

Of course, you’re familiar with “the” text that Sussmann sent to FBI general counsel James Baker, who was a friend of his, to get the meeting: “Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company –- want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

If Durham hadn’t obtained that revealing text, and also the Perkins Coie billing records that show Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for that meeting, this would just be a matter of whom to believe. But Durham has the proof he was lying, RIGHT THERE.

He didn’t get to the Marc Elias testimony today, as some observers had thought he might, so we’re still waiting for that, and also for James Baker to take the stand.

But in the meantime, Durham called FBI Supervisory Special Agent Scott Hellman, who testified that it took him and another agent “less than a day to ascertain that data and ‘white papers’ on two thumb drives Sussmann gave Baker did not support the Trump-Alfa Bank ‘secret connection’ allegation.” After examining the materials for evidence of hacking, he did a technical review, he said, and cross-referenced them. He said it became clear that “whoever had written that paper had just come to some conclusions not supported by the technical data.”

Also, “the methodology was questionable,” he said, and it didn’t make sense that a candidate for President would put his own name on a “supposedly secret domain name.”

So –- at long last –- all major news networks led their evening broadcasts with the blockbuster story that the FBI had debunked in ONE DAY the evidence for what turned out to be a coordinated attempt to frame Donald Trump before the 2016 election.

Just kidding; I made that up. ABC, NBC and CBS all ignored the story completely. They did cover the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, however.

In other Russia Hoax-related litigation, former Trump National Security Advisor (for two whole weeks!) Michael Flynn has filed a $50 million claim against the FBI and the “Justice” Department under the Federal Tort Claims Act, for malicious prosecution in their so-called investigation of the Russia Hoax.

Investigative reporter John Solomon has obtained a copy of the filing, known as a Form 95 Civil Claim. Filed quietly on February 22, it claims that Flynn can prove political interference inside the FBI.

The career of this three-star Army general was arguably ruined. Thus, the $50 million represents “compensatory damages including but not limited to lost past and future earnings/revenue, emotional distress, lost opportunity to be President’s National Security Advisor, significant restraints of personal liberty, attorney’s fees/expenses and court costs in defending against malicious prosecution, abuse of process, false arrest.”

One strong piece of evidence of his political prosecution is that now-infamous meeting in the Oval Office attended by then-President Obama, Vice President Biden, and FBI officials. Flynn’s filing mentions that this meeting was held just weeks after Obama pointedly urged Trump not to choose Flynn as national security adviser. Flynn also alleges that former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe had a personal vendetta against him.

“Flynn was the target of a politically motivated investigation and prosecution that had no merit when it began, no merit during its course, and no merit in the end when the charges were withdrawn by the DOJ and ultimately dismissed by the Court after Flynn received a full pardon,” the filing reads. They called him a traitor, it says, acting in concert with a foreign power.

They even threatened to prosecute his son unless he pleaded guilty. (Recall that he did, then withdrew the plea after getting new legal representation.) The filing says, “The federal government’s targeting of a citizen for baseless criminal prosecution and eliciting a plea bargain through threatening of family members is outrageous conduct of the highest order.”

We wish Michael Flynn all the best in his pursuit of this suit. No punishment that could be levied is too great. The government cannot be allowed to get away with this banana-republic-style political intimidation and ruination.

Today is the first day of the Michael Sussmann trial in federal court. He’s being prosecuted by “Russia Hoax” special counsel John Durham for lying to FBI general counsel James Baker when he said he was not speaking to them on behalf of any client. He was, in fact, representing tech executive Rodney Joffe and Hillary For America, whom billing records show he charged for the meeting.

Before we get into the trial, here’s a related item of interest, bearing on another story in the news. You know of Elon Musk’s new legal obstacle in acquiring Twitter and restoring uncensored speech? Guess who Twitter’s lead counsel happens to be? James Baker, one and the same.

No comment for now; moving on…

Former Congressman Devin Nunes, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee, and his chief investigator Kash Patel, a former national security prosecutor, are two people who have long known the story that Durham has put together. They appeared with Maria Bartiromo on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES to preview the trial, with Patel saying, “I think John Durham is doing the most methodical prosecution I’ve seen in recent history.”

The best way to convict “is with their own documentation,” Patel observed. As in, follow the money. That’s how Durham connected the Clinton campaign with the Perkins Coie attorneys and Fusion GPS. Last week, we learned that Durham will be using as evidence the actual notes from FBI officials, which, Patel reminds us, were subpoenaed by the Intel Committee long ago but never turned over. These make it clear that Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok knew –- before Crossfire Hurricane was opened –- that the Trump-Russia story was full of lies paid for by the DNC and Hillary’s campaign.

I would add that this might put Sussmann’s defense in a position to argue the FBI knew it was fake oppo research but didn’t care, making their client’s lie seem less consequential. That’s right --- in defending their client, they might need to admit that Durham’s big-picture narrative was TRUE. Wouldn’t that be delicious?

That big picture is what Durham describes as a “joint venture.” (We outlined recently the difficulty Durham’s had getting this Obama-appointed judge to let in anything about that.) Patel said that other indictments from “Clinton World” might be forthcoming, such as for Jake Sullivan, who’s currently Biden’s national security adviser; John Podesta and Robby Mook, who ran Hillary’s campaign; and the infamous Marc Elias, then of Perkins Coie.

Durham, he said, “has put the Clinton campaign and the FBI cabal together, in Andy McCabe’s office, with their own notes, to go and lie to an American public, a federal court, and surveil a President unlawfully. And then Andy McCabe is quoted in the notes, saying, ‘I want this Russiagate investigation to endure a year after it started’ to perpetuate the lie and the criminality of their conduct.”

Nunes went on to talk about the significance of this scandal and its broad cover-up, tying it to the current state of our institutions. “So, it starts as dirty political tricks,” he said. “Five years later, it ends up with...the deterioration over time of every institution in this country...These institutions have to be cleaned up, and Durham is the only guy in the position to get that done.”

As for whether Durham’s case will get a fair hearing from a DC jury, Patel said, “The jury can hear what they want, but they’re gonna see the FBI’s own words, Michael Sussmann’s own tweets and text messages, and that stuff doesn’t lie.”

Let’s hope they care. Meanwhile, the fight has continued over what may be presented to the jury. As Margot Cleveland details, Judge Christopher Cooper has ruled that Rodney Joffe may actually assert attorney-client privilege for his conversations with employees of Fusion GPS because those conversations “furthered Joffe’s and the Clinton campaign’s common interests.” What??

Interesting that the argument would be made at all that Joffe and the Clinton campaign HAD common interests. Did those by any chance have to do with Hillary getting elected?

But it’s true: the judge ruled on Thursday that Durham may not show the jury copies of emails previously withheld by Joffe, the Clinton campaign and the DNC. He did acknowledge that of the 38 emails, the Clinton campaign “had no valid reason to withhold 22.” Even so, he said that the Durham team had “waited too long” to file their motion to compel and so it was denied.

The judge decided on his own that these emails were “not particularly revelatory” and would add little to Durham’s case against Sussmann. (Aside: maybe it’s not the case against Sussmann he’s concerned about, but the unofficial one against Hillary For America and the DNC.)

On the other hand, Judge Cooper’s decision might benefit Durham in future litigation, Cleveland said, “because it establishes a precedent for Durham’s team to seek access to other communications withheld on the basis of the Clinton campaign’s claims of attorney-client privilege.” That relates to nearly 1,500 documents withheld by Fusion GPS as “privileged.”

Still, it might not help. Concerning the emails at issue here, Cleveland finds it “strange” that this judge would defer to Marc Elias’s claim that they ALL pertained to legal advice. (Fusion GPS attorney Joshua Levy had argued the same thing.)

Also distressing: The judge said that Joffe’s communications with Perkins Coie were privileged even though they were sent to a third party, Fusion GPS employee Laura Seago, who was involved only in the technical aspects of the data, not legal. She didn’t work for Joffe or Perkins Coie, and so wasn’t involved in the legal aspect. Even so, the court held that attorney-client privilege applied because of the “common interest.”

Say what? I’ll ask again: What was the “common interest” these three shared, other than getting Hillary elected?

And in the judge’s 11-page opinion, he said his court would “apply the principles set forth above to any assertions of privilege during witness testimony at trial.” In other words, if Durham wants testimony from Seago or any other Fusion GPS employee about communications with Joffe, it might not be allowed. This comes after Durham had to grant Seago immunity to get her testimony!

Cleveland says Durham does have a few cards he can play. He can go to the appellate court for a ruling on privilege before the trial starts. (Well, it starts today, and we haven’t heard anything about that.) He can use Seago’s claim of privilege to emphasize that Sussmann was indeed representing both Joffe and the Clinton campaign when he went to James Baker.

One other idea. Though I tell readers often that I am not a lawyer, I personally love the idea of prosecutors emphasizing to the jury this “common interest” claim being made by the defense. Because that sounds a lot like Durham’s “joint venture” claim to me --- the joint venture to smear Trump and elect Hillary President.


Here’s an informative “catch-up” on the case from the New York Post.

And here’s another good pre-trial write-up, quite even-handed, from Courthouse News Service.