Special Counsel John Durham appears to have methodically built a case of historic consequence. It’s just not the case he has brought against bigshot Democratic Party lawyer Michael Sussmann.
Jury selection begins in Sussmann’s trial on Monday, in Washington, DC. It will be the first trial to arise out of the Russiagate probe, which began over three years ago. That’s when former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr assigned Durham, a longtime Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to investigate how, in the middle of a heated presidential campaign and based upon scant evidence, the FBI came to suspect one of the candidates of being a clandestine agent of the Kremlin — to the point of opening counterintelligence and criminal investigations targeting Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
According to court filings in the Sussmann case, Durham has fingered the Hillary Clinton campaign as the culprit. The problem is that Durham has not charged that fraudulent scheme. Yet, he wants to offer evidence of the sweeping scheme in order to prove a comparatively minor and narrow offense — namely, that Sussmann lied to the FBI at a single meeting, on September 19, 2016.
Durham theorizes that the Clinton campaign concocted a political smear that Trump was a Putin puppet, then peddled the tale to a compliant media and to the FBI. This would enable Clinton to tout the “evidence” of corrupt Trump-Russia ties as so serious that the Feds were investigating.
Durham contends that the Clinton campaign left most of the scandal-mongering to its lawyers. Thus did Sussmann become central to the scheme, as did his law partner, Marc Elias. (Both attorneys have since left their white shoe international law firm, Perkins-Coie.) The deployment of lawyers in their schemes and scandals is a time-tested Clinton modus operandi, enabling them to claim attorney-client privilege to cover their tracks when controversy erupts and investigators start snooping around — a frequent occurrence over the last 30 years.