Trump on Sussmann Acquittal: ‘Our Legal System Is Corrupt’
'Our Judges and Justices! are highly partisan'
President Donald Trump raged at the "corrupt" legal system following the acquittal of Michael Sussmann on Tuesday.
“Our Legal System is CORRUPT,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social, adding that “our Judges (and Justices!) are highly partisan, compromised, or just plain scared” before lamenting that Michael Sussmann, the lawyer, was found not guilty."
Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign aide, wrote on Gettr that Sussmann admitted to giving opposition research to the FBI and not telling the bureau that the research was conducted for Clinton.
“How did Sussmann get off??? RIGGED SYSTEM!!!” Miller wrote.
The jury unanimously found Sussmann not guilty.
“I don’t think it should have been prosecuted,” one juror told reporters.
“There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI," she added.
“It was the government’s job to prove it and they succeeded in some ways and not in others,” she continued. “We broke it down and it did not pan out in the government’s favor.”— Jeff Mordock (@JeffMordock) May 31, 2022
The woman, who did not give her name, declined to say how she thought the government succeeded.
As constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley responded to this juror's comments:
"Telling a lie to the FBI was the entire basis for the prosecution.
"It was the jury's job to determine the fact of such a lie and its materiality."
"...Of course, this statement can be a simple criticism of the underlying charge without admitting to bias in weighing the elements.
"Yet, it would have prompted a challenge in the courtroom if expressed during jury selection."
Sussmann was found not guilty of a single count of lying to the FBI when he said he was not working on behalf of any client when he alleged a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia's Alfa Bank.
Sussmann sits back down. His face is impassive. Judge thanks jury and dismisses them. /12— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) May 31, 2022
Sussmann was charged under 18 U.S.C. 1001 with lying to the FBI during a meeting with then-FBI general counsel James Baker when he came forward with what he claimed was evidence of possible covert communications between the Trump organization and Alfa, a Russian bank.
Sussmann allegedly concealed that he was representing the Clinton campaign, which he billed for his efforts.
The verdict comes after a two week trial led to more than a day of deliberations... by this jury:
Baker, who now works for Twitter, said that he likely would not have have met with Michael Sussmann if he knew Sussmann was acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
"I don’t think I would have,” Baker said on the stand in federal court in Washington, as noted by the Epoch Times.
Knowing Trump’s opponent was behind the allegations “would have raised very serious questions, certainly, about the credibility of the source” and the “veracity of the information,” Baker said.
It would also have heightened “a substantial concern in my mind about whether we were going to be played.”
The testimony bolsters a key piece of special counsel John Durham’s case against Sussmann—that knowing the sources propelling Sussmann to meet with Baker would have altered how the FBI analyzed the information, which the bureau ultimately found did not substantiate the claims of a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
“Absent Sussmann’s false statement, the FBI might have taken additional or more incremental steps before opening and/or closing an investigation,” prosecutors said in Sussmann’s indictment, which charged him with lying to the FBI.
As Techno Fog notes:
The acquittal is no surprise. This is a DC jury, after all. In the Roger Stone case, for example, we documented how a juror lied to get on the panel. (That judge didn’t care.) Making matters worse, the Sussmann judge wrongly allowed for a woman to remain on the jury, despite the fact that her daughter and Sussmann’s are on the same high school crew team. One can’t help but think that juror had her own daughter’s interests in mind – the cohesion of the crew team – when she reached a decision.
On the facts, there was more than sufficient evidence to prove Sussmann’s guilt. Sussmann lied to then-FBI general counsel James Baker in order to get a meeting to pass the Alfa Bank hoax materials to the FBI. Sussmann lied again during the meeting – stating he was not there on behalf of a client – in order to get the FBI to open an investigation into the Trump Organization’s purported ties with Alfa Bank. Later, during testimony to Congress, Sussmann admitted he met with Baker on behalf of a client. Billing records proved he had been working on the Alfa Bank project on behalf of the Clinton Campaign.
I won’t say the verdict doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. It would have proven that a DC jury can convict one of their own. It would have resulted in accountability for lying to the FBI. Not the gravest of crimes, but it is still a crime.
In large part, the prosecution of Sussmann was hamstrung by the FBI’s investigation into the Alfa Bank allegations. That goes to materiality. How can the lies be material if the FBI’s investigation was so sloppy? (Answer: they were material because the lies helped open the investigation in the first place.)
On the issue of materiality, look to the testimony of FBI Special Agent Curtis Heide, whose repeated requests to interview the source of the Alfa Bank information were denied by headquarters.
FBI Headquarters didn’t want this thing thoroughly vetted - even though they demanded the investigation be opened.
As we stated during the trial:
Relatively early on in the investigation - on September 26, 2016 - Agent Heide sent a message to Pientka, requesting an interview of the source of the Alfa Bank white papers. By that time, Heide knew the white paper was bunk. He received no response from Pientka. He repeated this request on October 3, 2016. Agent Heide’s requests were rebuffed by his liaison at FBI headquarters:
That’s not the say the public hasn’t benefited from the trial.
The information disclosed during the trial was important to understand the broader Clinton/Fusion GPS/Perkins Coie effort to poison the public, the press, and the FBI with their Trump/Russia lies.