Day Two of Sussmann Trial Tells us More About Defense Than Prosecution

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on May 19, 2022 | sundance

The second day of witness testimony in the trial of Michael Sussmann for lying to the FBI was completed on Wednesday.  For a good recap of the granular aspects Techno Fog has a play-by-play SUMMARY HERE.

For CTH readers I want to focus on a point that is visible in the defense argument and challenging, insofar as it has not yet been revealed, in the prosecution position.   The issue surrounds why Rodney Joffe gave the Alfa-bank fraudulent information to Michael Sussmann instead of just giving it to the FBI himself.  {A Question Margot Cleveland posits here}

In the cross examination of the first set of prosecution witnesses the defense lawyers keep contending that Sussmann did not lie about the fraudulently created origin of the Alfa-Bank material and there was no reason for him not to tell the FBI he was a courier for the Clinton campaign.  The defense is essentially that Sussmann and the FBI knew he was working for the Clinton campaign when he delivered the fraudulent material.  Sussmann wasn’t trying to hide anything, ergo he didn’t lie.

Sussmann’s defensive point is essentially true.  The DOJ, FBI and everyone associated with the information knew they were receiving opposition research from the Clinton campaign.  However, the FBI had to pretend they didn’t know in order to use it to start an investigation.

Margot Cleveland notes at the time in 2016 when these events took place, Rodney Joffe was actually a confidential informant for the FBI.

At the same time Joffe was a CI, he was creating false evidence for the Clinton campaign to bolster their politically motivated Trump-Russia collusion nonsense; the “October Surprise.”

Joffe was dropped as a confidential informant (CI) in 2021 “for cause,” meaning he did something that eventually violated the FBI rules for CI’s to be operating.  It’s possible the John Durham investigation had something to do with that decision.

The question for the 2016 events is why Joffe didn’t just give the material to the FBI instead of giving it to Sussmann to give to the FBI?

The answer is really quite simple.  The priority of the “October Surprise” was to get the media to write the Trump-Russia collusion stories before the election, hoping the cloud of suspicion would help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump.

It was the media that was important, not just the FBI.

As a confidential informant Rodney Joffe could not take the information to his FBI handler and simultaneously give that information to the media.  That would be a violation of the CI rules.   If Joffe gave the material to the FBI and then the same FBI saw articles written about the material, they would know: (a) that Joffe violated the rules; and (b) the information was transparently political and thereby useless to them.

However, Michael Sussmann could give the material to the FBI and simultaneously give it to the media in a ‘wrap up smear’ move.

The media were told the FBI had the Alfa-Bank material under investigation, that gave the illusion of credibility. The media then asked the FBI if they did have an investigation of the material and wrote their articles accordingly.

The media articles carried additional weight because the suspicions existing connected to actual material within an FBI investigation gave the suspicions more credibility.

This is the exact same reason why several months later, March 2017, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, told the SSCI security director James Wolfe to leak Carter Page FISA application to journalist Ali Watkins.  Same approach as Sussmann.

In 2016 Michael Sussmann wanted media articles verifying Donald Trump as an investigative target of the FBI to help Hillary Clinton.

In 2017 Mark Warner wanted media articles verifying Donald Trump’s campaign officials as investigative targets of the FBI to get a special counsel appointed.

In both examples the primary motive was to use the media to get an outcome.

Michael Sussmann was the delivery agent to the FBI so that the Perkins Coie law firm to lean on their media allies to spread the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy.   Sussmann had a pre-existing relationship with FBI Counsel Jim Baker that would be useful for that purpose.  Hence, the origin of the case that is now being argued in court.

It was the media angle that was more important, the FBI angle was only to bolster the credibility of the accusation.

Hope that helps.

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