Prosecutors for special counsel John Durham claimed this week in court that DC lawyer Michael Sussman used the FBI as a “political tool” and misrepresented himself when he approached the bureau in 2016 about possible ties between the Trump organization and Russian bank.
Brittain Shaw, one of the prosecutors on Durham’s team, accused Sussman of hiding the fact that he was representing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign when he met with then-Director of the FBI, James Baker, to present evidence of what he believed may be ties between the Kremlin and the Trump organization.
He also claimed Sussman knowingly used the bureau as a political tool to harm Trump’s campaign. “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,” said Shaw.
“The evidence will show that this is a case about privilege — the privilege of a well-connected D.C. lawyer with access to the highest levels of the FBI,” Shaw said during opening statements in court. Sussman is charged with lying to the FBI.
Defense lawyer for Sussman, Michael Bosworth, vehemently rebuffed the claims, telling the jury, “This case is an injustice, and I suspect when all the evidence is in, you will agree.” Bosworth also told the jury Sussman had not been prompted or authorized by anyone to approach Baker with the information, but had done so of his own accord out of concern for national security.
Bosworth argued Sussman’s meeting with Baker “was the exact opposite of what the Clinton campaign would have wanted. No one told him to go. No one authorized him to go.”
Durham was originally ordered to delve into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation by former Attorney General Bill Barr.
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