John Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to DNC over the Russian investigation: report

John Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to DNC over the Russian investigation: report
John Durham, Image via United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut / Wikimedia Commons

John H. Durham, the attorney tapped by the Trump administration to oversee a special assessment of the Russian investigation, is now seeking an indictment of a cybersecurity lawyer accused of providing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with a false statement.

According to the New York Times, Durham is seeking the indictment for Michael Sussmann, a former U.S. prosecutor who is now a partner at the law firm, Perkins Coie. The firm previously represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in a case involving the 2016 Russian hack targeting its servers.

Per the New York Times:

"The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016. Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies."

Back in September 2016, Sussmann is said to have met with James A. Baker, the top-ranking lawyer for the FBI at the time. The two "spoke on condition of anonymity."

"At the meeting, Mr. Sussmann relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers who thought that odd internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution," the Times reports.

On Wednesday, September 14, Sussmann's legal team, Sean M. Berkowitz and Michael S. Bosworth of Latham & Watkins, released a statement addressing the allegations. While they did acknowledge that an indictment is anticipated, the team denied Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI.

“Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime," they said. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name."

Due to the five-year statute of limitations in place, Durham only has a matter of days to secure an indictment.

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