To no one's surprise, a DC jury acquitted Michael Sussmann
Most savvy court-watchers were completely unsurprised yesterday when a jury in the District of Columbia acquitted Michael Sussmann, a Perkins Coie attorney, who was charged with lying to the FBI on Hillary's behalf in support of the Russia hoax. After all, juries routinely rule against Republicans and for Democrats in the D.C. district, the judge couldn't have made his partisanship more clear, and the jury had a good helping of hardcore Hillary-supporters. In other words, the fix was in the moment the case was filed. What was more newsworthy than a predictable verdict was the way the case showed just how corrupt the FBI and the district court are.
The news about the verdict is simple:
A Washington, D.C., jury acquitted former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann of lying to the FBI on Tuesday in the first legal test of special counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theory.
Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI during a September 2016 meeting with former FBI general counsel James Baker. Sussmann pleaded not guilty to the charges, arguing that he never lied to the FBI, and even if he did, the lie did not impact the FBI's operations at all. Sussmann decided last week against testifying in his own defense.
The evidence was clear, though, that Sussmann told the FBI's general counsel he wasn't representing anyone when he was, in fact, representing Hillary.
The "lying to the FBI" charge was how the rump of Obama's DOJ destroyed General Michael Flynn. Even though the evidence made it clear that he hadn't lied, the DOJ pursued him like hellhounds, destroying his career, his reputation, and his life savings. When Flynn sued to reverse the plea bargain the DOJ had railroaded him into accepting and the Trump DOJ wanted to dismiss the claim against Flynn, Judge Emmet Sullivan had to be forced to dismiss the case. (General Flynn has now lodged a $50-million claim against the government as the predicate to a lawsuit.)
Image: Michael Sussmann (edited). YouTube video.
In Sussmann's case, U.S. district judge Christopher Cooper, an Obama appointee, went in the other direction, doing everything he could to ease the way for Sussmann. He allowed on the jury a juror whose daughter was on the same high school sports team as Sussmann's daughter and allowed to remain in the jury pool (potentially prejudicing the actual jurors), three Hillary campaign donors, a Hillary phone bank worker, and someone who objected to the 2016 election outcome.
Most significantly, Cooper prevented the prosecution from arguing that the text message that was at the heart of the case constituted a false statement. In other words, he knocked out the smoking gun proving absolutely that Sussmann had lied to the FBI.
Charles Lipson has ripped the fundamental unfairness of the case in an article at the Spectator (which you can access if you give up your email address). More significantly, he wants us all to understand that the case revealed just how corrupt our entire federal justice system is:
[T]here is very powerful evidence that Sussmann deliberately lied to the FBI's top lawyer. The text message to Baker, asking for the meeting, explicitly said Sussmann was coming as a good citizen and was not representing a client. Baker said Sussmann repeated that claim at the beginning of their meeting. Baker, in turn, communicated that assurance to several FBI officials he met immediately after the Sussmann meeting. But Sussmann was lying. In that meeting, he was representing Hillary Clinton's campaign and aiding another client, Rodney Joffe, a computer scientist who expected to become Clinton's cyber czar.
That Sussmann walked is less concerning than what the trial taught America about our justice system:
[T]he FBI's cyber experts quickly recognized that the white papers and thumb drives Sussmann gave Baker were garbage. They might fool someone without any cyber expertise but not a real expert. When the FBI learned that Sussmann's materials were worthless, the Bureau should have immediately ended its investigation based solely on that material. They didn't. [snip] The FBI's approach was fatally biased, corrupt, and partisan — the now-familiar hallmarks of Saint James Comey's tenure at the Bureau.
At the end of the day, says Lipson,
[t]his whole case was about a lie that was meant to help Hillary Clinton and hurt Donald Trump. That means there was a partisan political element at the very heart of the case. That would pose an uphill battle for Durham in any case since the trial was held in Washington, DC, where Trump received almost no votes. He is reviled there. Knowing that, the judge should have leaned over backwards to make sure the jury wasn't overtly partisan. He did the opposite, and that's unconscionable.
What Lipson is describing with such biting accuracy isn't a criminal justice system, from investigators to prosecutors to judges. Instead, it's a corrupt praetorian guard that exists solely to protect the Democrat party.