Special counsel John Durham has filed a legal response to an action taken by attorneys for a lawyer once aligned with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Attorney Michael Sussmann has been charged by Durham with lying to the FBI, but his attorneys have asked a federal court to dismiss it. However, on Friday, Durham filed a response to that request.
The Epoch Times reports:
Michael Sussmann was representing the Clinton campaign when in 2016 he passed along information to an FBI counsel. His lawyers say the documents “raised national security concerns” while prosecutors describe them as purportedly detailing a covert channel between a Russian bank and the business of Donald Trump, Clinton’s rival at the time.
Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI because he falsely told the counsel he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client despite presenting the information on behalf of the Clinton campaign, prosecutors say.
In a filing in February, Sussmann’s lawyers moved to dismiss the charge, claiming their client “did not make any false statement to the FBI” but even if he had, “the false statement alleged in the indictment is immaterial as a matter of law.”
“Allowing this case to go forward would risk criminalizing ordinary conduct, raise First Amendment concerns, dissuade honest citizens from coming forward with tips, and chill the advocacy of lawyers who interact with the government,” the filing said.
“The Special Counsel’s unprecedented and unlawful overreach should not be countenanced, and the single count against Mr. Sussmann should be dismissed,” it continued.
In its reply on Friday, Durham’s legal team urged the court to reject the Sussmann request to drop the case.
“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign,” their filing said.
“The defendant’s efforts to mislead the FBI in this manner during the height of a Presidential election season plainly could have influenced the FBI’s decision-making in any number of ways,” Durham’s team argued.
Last month, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that former President Barack Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and others in Obama’s national security and intelligence apparatus were aware of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign’s efforts to “infiltrate” internet servers at Trump Tower and then at the White House after Donald Trump beat her.
What’s more, Ratcliffe said Durham has found enough evidence to indict “multiple” people in relation to his ongoing investigation into the origins of the ‘Russiagate’ counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign during Obama’s final year in office, the Daily Mail reported.
The outlet notes:
Ratcliffe said former CIA Director John Brennan told Obama and the then-president and Vice President Biden in 2016 about allegations Clinton was trying to fabricate Trump’s links to Russia to distract from the scandal over her deleted emails.
The former DNI also told Fox News Digital on Monday there is ‘enough evidence’ to indict ‘multiple people’ in Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation into ex-President Donald Trump.