U.S. Department of Justice special counsel John Durham is planning his next move in the case against a former campaign attorney for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
According to reports, Durham is set to call on former FBI lawyer James Baker in the case against Michael Sussmann, who faces charges that he lied to federal agents as part of a disinformation campaign against former President Donald Trump.
Details of the case
Specifically, Sussmann is accused of lying to Baker in 2016 about having worked for the Clinton campaign.
As a result of largely disproven claims that Trump had worked with Russia to rig the election, his campaign and much of his term in office were dominated by media coverage focused on the salacious allegations.
Sussmann allegedly played a role in the disinformation effort, including during his September 2016 meeting with Baker and a series of rumors linking Trump to a Russian bank. For his part, Durham asserts that Sussman misled Baker about the fact that he was working for the Democratic nominee at the time.
At a hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors working for the special counsel indicated that they plan to hear from Baker as they build their case against Sussmann.
As it turns out, the FBI might have been somewhat complicit in giving oxygen to the allegations against the then-GOP presidential nominee.
Durham’s probe continues
The FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign, known as Crossfire Hurricane, began in July 2016 — and Baker subsequently acknowledged that the level of access that the Clinton campaign had within the FBI was “highly unusual.”
The bureau’s credibility took a major hit during the Trump administration as it became increasingly clear that officials pursued an investigation into Trump and his allies in apparent coordination with top Democrats including Clinton and then-President Barack Obama.
It was Baker who oversaw the execution of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page, which were based on an infamous dossier reportedly funded by the Clinton campaign.
The dossier was procured via an opposition research firm hired by Perkins Coie, the law firm where Sussmann worked until recently.
Aside from Sussmann, the only individual charged thus far in Durham’s probe is Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who was accused of tampering with evidence in order to frame Page and justify the FBI’s surveillance.