Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016, leaves federal courthouse in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
UPDATED 11:37 AM PT – Wednesday, May 25, 2022
More FBI agents took the stand at the Sussmann trial and confirmed they were led astray from the very start of their investigation into claims of Russia collusion with former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The link between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Russia collusion narrative got clearer in day seven of the trial. Taking the limelight in the courtroom was a file titled ‘Crimson Rhino.’ This file was reportedly basis for the investigation into the 2016 campaign and was provided to former top FBI lawyer James Baker from Sussmann.
It’s origins come from tech executive Rodney Joffe who was tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign and was a confidential human source for the FBI. He ordered client Jared Novick who ran a data analysis firm to do research on several people tied to then candidate Trump. He also said he felt uncomfortable doing the work because he knew it was opposition research for a political campaign.
Meanwhile, a mid-level FBI agent from the Chicago field office Kurt Hydie took the stand. Hydie reportedly wrote a memo that formally kicked off his office’s investigation. He admitted to writing a typographical error when he said the information came from the Department of Justice and not Sussmann. That caused confusion within the FBI where officers thought they were doing research for the federal government not a political actor.
“That created a lot of confusion,” Hydie said. “May not have had otherwise.”
However, experts lament the findings in the Sussmann case may not translate to other potentially high profile cases. This includes a possible prosecution of Hillary Clinton herself. The presiding judge of the Sussmann Trial Chris Cooper stressed the proceedings focused solely on Sussmann and whether he lied to the FBI or not.
In the meantime, Special Counsel John Durham’s team has one more witness to call Wednesday before turning over the trial to the defense. They could wrap their case as soon as Friday and leave it up to the jurors to decide Sussmann’s fate.