DOJ’s Special Counsel says CIA data that came from former Clinton lawyer claiming Trump had Russian connections is ‘not technically plausible’ and was ‘user-created’
- Special Counsel John Durham said the alleged relationship between Trump and Russia was ‘user-created- and ‘not technically plausible’
- Michael Sussmann, a Clinton lawyer, is going on trial next month for allegedly lying to the FBI and CIA about Trump’s relationship with Russia
- He is accused of ‘purporting data’ to ‘demonstrate a covert communication channel’ between Alfa Bank and the former president
- Sussmann was denied getting the case dismissed and has pleaded not guilty
The Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office has said that CIA data alleging a relationship between Donald Trump and Russia is ‘not technically plausible.’
In a court filing on Friday, Special Counsel John Durham asserted that the alleged relationship with the former President and Russia – which Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann concluded – was ‘user-created.’
Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI in September 2016 saying he didn’t work for the Clintons when he presented the ‘purported data and “white papers” that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel’ between former president Trump and Kremlin-tied Alfa Bank.
Durham also alleged Sussmann gave the CIA information about Trump in February 2017. He said the agency concluded the information wasn’t true.
‘While the FBI did not reach an ultimate conclusion regarding the data’s accuracy or whether it might have been in whole or in part genuine, spoofed, altered, or fabricated, [the CIA] concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank 1 data and Russian Phone Provider 1 data was not “technically plausible,” did not “withstand technical scrutiny,” “contained gaps,” “conflicted with [itself]” and was “user-created and not machine/tool generated,”‘ he wrote in the court documents filed Friday.
He did, however, say the Special Counsel’s Office ‘has not reached a definitive conclusion in this regard.’
The Special Counsel said that regardless of if the information ‘was actually unreliable or provided a motive’ for the lie, any evidence concerning the steps the intelligence agencies took to ‘investigate these matters is critical to establishing materiality.’
He said the evidence will allow the jury to determine if Sussmann’s alleged lie could have ‘influenced or impaired government functions.’
Durham also outlined the relationship between the lawyer and ex-British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who reportedly wrote the unaccredited dossier connecting Trump to Russia. Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign reported funded the dossier through the Perkins Coie law firm, according to Fox News.
In Friday’s filing, Durham said Sussmann and Steele met in 2016 at the law firm’s office to discuss the Russian connection. After the meeting, Steele created the dossier.
He accused Sussmann of ‘representing and working for the Clinton campaign in connection with its broader opposition research efforts’ and that he took steps to ‘integrate’ the Russia allegations into the dossier.
He also said the evidence against Sussmann is ‘high probative’ because it indicates he was helping the Clinton campaign through the research and the FBI meeting was to ‘further the interests of the Clinton campaign’ and that Steele was hired to ‘dig up dirt on Trump.’
‘The fact that FBI headquarters received on the same date both sets of information involving the same political campaign (Clinton campaign), the same law firm [Perkins Coie] and the same investigative firm [Fusion GPS] makes Steele’s involvement in these matters relevant,’ Friday’s court document said.
Sussmann is scheduled to go to trial next month. Durham responded, in the filings, what evidence would and would not be permissible at the lawyer’s trial.
In February, Durham announced the government would establish the domain name system (DNS) internet traffic pertaining to ‘a particular healthcare provider, Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP)’ as ‘exploited.’
He said it was exploited ‘by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,’ and said the information was used to cause an ‘interference’ and creating the narrative ties between the two parties.
Sussmann, however, is attempting to block evidence concerning the ‘gathering’ of the domain data from Rodney Joffe, also known as ‘Tech Executive 1.’ However, Durham is ‘a subject’ of the investigation, because he ‘played a critical leadership role’ in the allegations, despite not being charged with a crime.
Durham said the court will provide redacted communications between Sussmann and Joffe that pertain to the Clinton campaign.
Durham said the data gathering was a ‘necessary factual backdrop to the charged conduct.’
Sussman has pleaded not guilty and has asked for the case to be dismissed, but a judge denied it.