Barr on Sussmann Acquittal: ‘Durham Did an Exceptionally Able Job’
Former attorney general 'happy' with the work Durham has done
Former Attorney General William Barr praised special counsel John Durham for an “exceptionally able job” after a jury on May 31 found Hillary Clinton campaign cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann not guilty of lying to the FBI.
Sussmann, who in 2016 represented the Clinton campaign, was indicted in September 2021 for lying to the FBI when he claimed he had information about an alleged secret communication channel between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and a Russian bank.
While making the claims of alleged communications during a meeting with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in October 2016, Sussmann claimed that he was not representing any client, while he, in fact, was billing the time to the Clinton campaign.
“I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” Sussmann wrote to FBI lawyer James Baker in a text message before meeting him.
“I’m coming on my own—not on behalf of a client or company—want to help the Bureau," he said.
Sussmann was charged with one count of lying to the government.
The case against Sussmann was the first one brought by Durham, who was appointed during the Trump administration to probe the origins of the now disproven Trump–Russia collusion narrative.
Barr told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Wednesday that he was happy with the work Durham has done despite the fact that he did not succeed in getting a conviction when asked if he felt in “any way responsible for how this Durham situation’s unfolding.”
“No, I’m very proud of John Durham, and I do take responsibility for his appointment, and I think he and his team did an exceptionally able job, both digging out very important facts and presenting a compelling case to the jury,” Barr said.
“While he did not succeed in getting a conviction from the D.C. jury, I think he accomplished something far more important, which is he brought out the truth in two important areas,” he continued.
Barr said he believed that firstly, Durham had “crystallized the central role” that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign played in “fanning the flames” of the narrative that former President Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia.
Secondly, he added that Durham had also “exposed really dreadful behavior by the supervisors in the FBI, the senior ranks in the FBI, who knowingly use this information to start an investigation of Trump and then dupe their own agents by lying to them and refusing to tell them what the real source of that information was.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified on May 20 that Clinton herself approved the plan to spread the allegations against Trump.
Jurors acquitted Sussmann on Tuesday following a 10-day trial in the E. Barnett Perryman Courthouse in Washington.
Trump took aim at the legal system in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, following the decision.
“Our Legal System is CORRUPT, our Judges (and Justices!) are highly partisan, compromised or just plain scared, our Borders are OPEN, our Elections are Rigged, Inflation is RAMPANT, gas prices and food costs are ‘through the roof,’ our Military ‘Leadership’ is Woke, our Country is going to HELL, and Michael Sussmann is not guilty,” Trump wrote.
In May 2017, special counsel and former FBI head Robert Mueller ultimately found no evidence of Trump–Russia collusion that swayed the 2016 election.