CNN

Clinton 2016 campaign lawyer found not guilty of lying to FBI in Durham investigation

May 31, 2022, 11:33 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 7:27 pm
Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign ...
Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, leaves federal courthouse in Washington, on May 16. (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
(Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI, in the first trial of special counsel John Durham’s investigation.

The verdict is a major defeat for Durham and his Justice Department prosecutors, who have spent three years looking for wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia probe. He claimed Sussmann lied during a 2016 meeting in which he passed a tip to the FBI about Donald Trump and Russia.

The Washington, DC, federal jury deliberated for six hours over two days before reaching its verdict.

The Sussmann case revolved around his September 2016 meeting with James Baker, a friend who was the FBI’s general counsel. Sussmann passed along a tip that led to a four-month FBI inquiry into a possible internet backchannel between the Trump Organization and Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Both companies denied the claim, and the FBI didn’t find any improper cyber links.

Prosecutors argued that Sussmann intentionally lied to Baker by saying he came only as a concerned citizen, and not on behalf of any clients, saying Sussmann hid his ties to Democrats to “manipulate the FBI” and gin up an “October surprise” to help Clinton win.

In Sussmann’s telling, at the peak of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, he went to the FBI with a good-faith tip, which originated from reputable cyber experts that he represented. He separately worked on Clinton’s behalf to peddle that unverified tip to the press, generating some coverage. He didn’t try to dupe Baker or hide his political ties, which were well-known at the FBI.

Durham said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the verdict.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said in a statement. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”

 

Durham investigation takes a hit

 

So far, Durham’s work has only led to one conviction: the guilty plea of a junior FBI lawyer who was involved in a wiretapping warrant for a former Trump 2016 campaign adviser. Durham also charged a Russian expat tied to the infamous Steele dossier, whose trial is slated for October.

The Sussmann case was the first major courtroom test for Durham, and the acquittal may bolster Durham’s critics, who believe he’s running a politicized probe into flimsy theories.

Trump has treated Durham’s probe as a political weapon, stoking excitement in the right-wing ecosystem that Durham will deliver Watergate-caliber indictments against Clinton loyalists and the “deep state” government agents who supposedly conspired against him. He has even suggested that Sussmann’s and other Democrats’ conduct should be “punishable by death.”

Durham’s efforts to “investigate the investigators” are ongoing, and have outlasted the Russia probe itself, which was taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted six Trump associates, including his lawyer, his 2016 campaign chair, and a senior White House official.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

CNN

Lindsay Lohan thinks you should try Pilk.
(Pepsi)...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Pepsi wants you to drink soda mixed with milk this holiday season

Pepsi launched a campaign Thursday encouraging customers to try the combination of milk and pepsi for a holiday concoction.
1 day ago
Mauna Loa spewing lava on Tuesday. (Courtesy: Paradise Helicopters via )...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava spilling toward key Hawaiian highway, but the gov says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
1 day ago
A Mcdonalds restaurant with big golden arches in Logan, Utah....
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

This is what McDonald’s drive-thru of the future could look like

McDonald's is hoping a drive-thru lane with a food conveyor belt, a pickup room for delivery workers and a shelf where people can grab their orders will make life easier for customers on the go.
1 day ago
Jason David Frank's cause of death is revealed by his wife. Jason David Frank is pictured here in N...
Lisa Respers France, CNN

Jason David Frank’s cause of death revealed by his wife

Jason David Frank's wife has confirmed that the "Power Rangers" star's death was a result of suicide.
1 day ago
A general view of the city skyline is seen with the lights switched on just before the Earth Hour e...
Lilit Marcus, CNN

These are the world’s most expensive cities to live in 2022

Here are this year's top 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
1 day ago
The four escapee cubs celebrated their first birthday this summer along with sibling Ayanna who sta...
Hafsa Khalil, CNN

New footage reveals how 5 lions escaped their Sydney zoo enclosure

The Great Escape always brings prisoner-of-war Steve McQueen to mind, but perhaps the real masters of breaking out are five lions who absconded from their enclosure at a Sydney zoo last month.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Clinton 2016 campaign lawyer found not guilty of lying to FBI in Durham investigation