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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Week two of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann’s trial will begin Monday morning, with prosecutors from Special Counsel John Durham’s team set to call former FBI officials to the stand for testimony.
The government is set to call the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, and the FBI’s former deputy general counsel for national security, Trisha Anderson, to testify.
Prosecutors could also call Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to the stand as a witness.
Sussmann has been charged with making a false statement to the FBI during a meeting he had in September 2016 with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. Sussmann, during that meeting less than two months before the presidential election, brought “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.
Sussmann, during that meeting, told Baker he was not doing work “for any client,” but rather bringing the allegations to the FBI as a citizen concerned with national security.
Durham’s team alleges that Sussmann was, in fact, doing work for two clients: the Hillary Clinton campaign and a technology executive, Rodney Joffe. Following the meeting with Baker, Durham claims Sussmann billed the Hillary Clinton campaign for his work.
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Baker did not take handwritten notes on his meeting with Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016—something Sussmann’s defense attorneys criticized Baker for—but prosecutors have repeatedly referenced handwritten notes from both Priestap and Anderson as evidence, as they both wrote that Sussmann was not bringing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any specific client, but on his own.
Baker testified last week that the FBI began an investigation into the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations, which lasted “several weeks, maybe a month, maybe a month and a half.”
“We concluded there was no substance,” Baker testified. “We couldn’t confirm it. We could not confirm there was a surreptitious communications channel.”
Baker added: “There was nothing there.”
FBI Special Agent Scott Hellman also testified last week, saying the data from Sussmann turned out to be untrue, and stressed that he did not agree with the narrative.
Hellman testified that whoever drafted the narrative describing the DNS data was “5150,” and clarified on the stand that meant he believed the individual who came to the conclusions “was suffering from some mental disability.”
Meanwhile, former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified last week that Hillary Clinton herself approved the dissemination of those allegations tying Trump to the Kremlin-linked bank to the media ahead of the 2016 election.
Mook testified that former Clinton campaign officials John Podesta, Jennifer Palmieri, and Jake Sullivan (who now serves as White House National Security Advisor) were also involved in the plan to share the allegations with the media.
The government, in its opening statement last week, argued that Sussmann’s delivery of the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations to the FBI was part of the Clinton campaign’s plan to create an “October surprise” against then-candidate Donald Trump.
Former President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Saturday, called the years-long investigation into whether he and members of his campaign were colluding or coordinating with Russia ahead of the 2016 election “one of the greatest political scandals in history.”
“For three years I had to fight her off and fight those crooked people off,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “And you’ll never get your reputation fully back.”
He added: “Where do I get my reputation back?”