Last week, Michael Sussmann, a former attorney in a law firm that represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, was indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI in 2016 about the capacity in which he was providing allegations of cyber links between Russia’s Alfa Bank and former US President Donald Trump’s Trump Organisation.
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser in the Biden administration, may be guilty of perjury in connection with the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign’s ploy to push the Trump-Russia collusion story to the FBI.
Sullivan, who served as Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser during her second failed presidential bid, was identified by his campaign position last week when Michael A. Sussmann, a partner at Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about a “secret communications channel” between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and a Russian bank in 2016.
The indictment reveals that Sussmann lied when he “stated to the General Counsel of the FBI that he was not acting on behalf of any client in conveying particular allegations concerning a presidential candidate, when in truth, and in fact, as the defendant well knew, he was acting on behalf of specific clients, namely, Tech Executive-1 and the Clinton campaign”.
It further suggests that Sussmann “coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media”.
According to emails obtained by Special Counsel John Durham, who’s in charge of the probe into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into an alleged conspiracy between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign, Sullivan was one of those campaign agents.
It is believed that just days before Sussmann handed over the materials about the purported secret communications channel to the FBI in 2016, Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, “exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations”, as well as with other senior campaign staffers.
US media outlets cited sources close to the case as confirming that the “foreign policy adviser” in question was Sullivan. He was supposedly briefed on a mission led by research company Fusion GPS to gather intelligence about Trump’s alleged ties with Alfa Bank ahead of the 2016 election.
The law firm Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS to cook up a series of reports with the help of a former British intelligence operative, Christopher Steele, detailing alleged connections between Russia and the Trump team.
If the indictment is accurate, it appears to contradict Sullivan’s congressional testimony in December 2017, when he claimed under oath that he knew nothing of the research and the company that helped conduct it.
“Marc [Elias] … would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn’t know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that”, Sullivan said at the time.
The current White House national security adviser also testified he wasn’t aware that Perkins Coie was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media. Sullivan claimed that he had no idea that Elias worked for the law firm because “to be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing”.
“I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveller in this — in this campaign effort”, Sullivan testified.
When asked about Alfa Bank during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, Sullivan said: “I think there is ample evidence at this point in the public record of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians”.
If Sullivan is found guilty of perjury, he could be charged with a felony and be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment.
John Durham was appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2019 to probe suspicions that the FBI and US intelligence agencies had committed wrongdoing in their pursuit of the Trump-Russia collusion allegations.
In a December 2019 report, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the FBI “concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links” between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organisation.
A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report from 2020 did not find “covert communications between Alfa Bank and Trump Organisation personnel” either. The Senate stated that “based on the FBI’s assessment, the Committee did not find that the Domain Name System activity reflected the existence of substantive or covert communications between Alfa Bank and Trump Organisation personnel”.
Hillary Clinton has continuously blamed her loss in the 2016 presidential election on Russian interference, and claimed that her Republican rival, Donald Trump, won because he colluded with the Kremlin.
In March 2019, FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller released a long-awaited report on the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 US presidential campaign. The report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Trump colluded with Russia during the election, and said that Mueller recommended no further indictments.