I feel that I should comment on the indictment of lawyer Michael Sussman by Special Counsel John Durham while the issue is still current. Very likely you have already read extensively about Durham’s indictment of Sussman, which came down on September 16. Sussman was one of the lawyers, although not the head lawyer, at the firm of Perkins Coie, who worked for the DNC and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016.
This indictment is another instance by which we are learning step by step how the Democratic powers and their press side-kicks, through strict control of a “narrative,” think that they can get a critical mass of the American people to believe literally anything, no matter how preposterous. And to a remarkable extent, they are right.
From mid-2016 to mid-2019, we had about three years of non-stop Russia! Russia! Russia! obsession from the Democratic Party and its media adjunct. The stories advancing the narrative numbered in the thousands, and ultimately turned into nothing when Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally issued his report at the end of that period. But how did this whole thing get going and continued for such a long period of time?
On its face, the Sussman indictment appears to be a very odd bird, and by itself not a particularly significant one. The charge is a single count of “lying to the FBI” (18 U.S.C. Section 1001). This statute is a favorite of the feds because almost anyone dumb enough to talk to the FBI can be tripped up on something. The defendant is a relatively small fish in the school of barracudas who had to have been involved in orchestrating the “Trump/Russia collusion” hoax in the 2016 election and thereafter. The “lie” in question is on the seemingly peripheral issue of whether Sussman was working for a client, i.e., the Clinton campaign, or just reporting to the FBI as a public-spirited citizen. Could the FBI really have been fooled about that? And is this really the best they’ve got?
On the flip side, there are some serious indications — although we can’t know for sure — that there is more coming. The indictment gives a substantial narrative of the facts constituting the alleged crime, which is unusual and unnecessary for this sort of indictment. Those facts give plenty of support for a potential inference that the communication to the FBI was part of an orchestrated Clinton campaign initiative to get an easily-compliant press to report the beginning of a federal investigation against Trump. The press wouldn’t just report some unsubstantiated made-up story from the campaign, but if the FBI was investigating, now that would be a story. So the FBI needed to be enlisted, for the benefit of one campaign against the other.
Could that really have occurred without the candidate’s knowledge and approval?
And then separately, we have the previously-little-noticed matter of the departure of Marc Elias from Perkins Coie on August 22, just three weeks before the Sussman indictment. Here is Perkins Coie’s announcement of the Elias departure. Elias was the lead lawyer for the Clinton campaign and DNC in the 2016 cycle. Supposedly, the reason for the departure was to give Elias “the independence to broaden [his] advocacy and types of matters on which [he] works.” In other words, we are supposed to believe that, while at Perkins Coie, Elias had sufficient independence to do political work up to and including representing the DNC and the Clinton presidential campaign, but now he needs to leave to do some other and presumably more important election law work that just can’t be done at Perkins Coie? Not likely. More probably, Elias is in negotiations with Durham; and Perkins Coie didn’t want to see one of its current partners indicted, let alone plead guilty to something.
In case you need any reminding, Hillary was very personally and actively involved in publicly promoting the idea, both at the time of the 2016 campaign and thereafter, that Trump was somehow working with or for Putin and Russia. The earliest accusation by Hillary herself on the subject that I can find appeared in the New York Times on September 5, 2016, about two months before the election. In July of that year, there had been a release of a collection of DNC emails, which had showed the DNC co-ordinating with the Clinton campaign to disadvantage Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary season. The DNC email release was often attributed in the press to a Russian hack, although I have never seen any proof of that, and I’ve always thought that the better theory was a leak by an unhappy (and probably Bernie-supporting) DNC insider. Anyway, here’s Hillary in July 2016:
“It’s almost unthinkable,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday, referring to what she called recent “credible reports about Russian interference in our elections.” . . . “We’ve never had the nominee of one of our major parties urging the Russians to hack,” Mrs. Clinton said in a news conference. . . . The comments, Mrs. Clinton’s most extensive yet on one of the more unusual subplots of the presidential campaign. . . .
The meeting between a Clinton campaign lawyer and the FBI set forth in the Sussman indictment took place on September 19, 2016. The story allegedly weaved by Sussman at the FBI meeting, about supposed communications between Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank, and an FBI investigation of same, became public in a story in Slate on October 31. But meanwhile, at the October 19 presidential debate Hillary used the occasion to make an explicit accusation against Trump of being a “puppet” of Vladimir Putin. That accusation was not specifically connected to the July 2016 DNC “hack.” From Reuters, October 19, 2016:
During Wednesday’s presidential debate, Trump said he did not know Putin but would likely get along better with the Russian leader than Clinton, a former secretary of state. . . . Clinton responded: ”Well that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”
After the election, and even more so after the inauguration in January 2017, the press started going crazy with the Trump/Russia collusion story. In a post on March 2 of that year, I noted that “the New York Times has easily had several dozen articles since the election about the supposedly nefarious relationship between President Trump and/or his team and Russian officials.” Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was appointed in May of that year. And through it all, Hillary Clinton was very much personally involved in fanning the flames of the Trump/Russia collusion story. For example, from the Washington Post, September 12, 2017:
USA Today's Susan Page, in an interview published late Monday night, asked Clinton whether she thought Trump associates colluded with Russia. And Clinton broke with many in her party by offering a pretty unvarnished answer in the affirmative. “There certainly was communication, and there certainly was an understanding of some sort.” . . . .
And who can forget Hillary’s op-ed in The Washington Post on April 24, 2019, commenting on the Mueller Report shortly after its issuance:
[T]he president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. . . . This is . . . an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation. . . . [U]nless he’s held accountable, the president may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office. He will likely redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda . . .
So will the Durham investigation actually get to Hillary? After all, merely accusing the opposing campaign on no basis whatsoever of being in cahoots with Russia would not be a crime. Enlisting the FBI on false pretenses in advancing the accusation would be a crime. But of course, Hillary did not meet with the FBI herself. Reaching her will require the cooperating testimony of an Elias or a Sussman or both. Will they turn?
Meanwhile, as I commented repeatedly while it was going on, the idea that Russia was working to advance Trump as President over his Democratic rivals never made a bit of sense. From my post of February 25, 2020:
There is zero chance that Putin prefers President Trump over any of his potential Democratic opponents. The reason is simple. All of the Democratic candidates propose to hobble and cripple the U.S. fossil fuel industry. Trump supports the expansion of the U.S. fossil fuel industry. The U.S. fossil fuel industry is what has driven down the price of Russia’s oil and gas exports by about half in the last several years, costing Russia and Putin hundreds of billions of dollars, and severely restricting Russia’s ability to continue to be a player on the world stage.
And now that Vlad has a Democrat back in the White House, the suppression of the U.S. energy economy, to the benefit of Russia, is back in full swing. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Russia’s exports of oil and related products to the U.S. have surged during 2021, up to 847 thousand barrels/day in the latest reporting month of June, up from 453 barrels/day in February, immediately after Biden took office. Russia has moved into second place among nations who export oil to the U.S., behind only Canada and well ahead of any member of OPEC. ( Saudi Arabia is in a distand third place at 576 thousand barrels/day.)
Here is the EIA chart of U.S. imports from Russia of “crude oil and petroleum products” in thousands of barrels per day from 2004 through June 2021. You can make your own judgment on whom Putin would rather have in office.