Lawyer course

In major setback for Durham, jury acquits former Clinton lawyer

Over the course of several months, Donald Trump periodically dropped the name of Special Counsel John Durham, hoping the prosecutor would bolster some of the former president’s conspiracy theories. Before leaving the White House, Trump even suggested that the Durham investigation could serve as a possible vehicle to retaliate against his perceived enemies.

But the longer the investigation continued, the more the Republican grew impatient. “Where’s John Durham?” Trump asked in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Ultimately, we can now answer this question: Durham is in court, embarrassingly losing. NBC News reported:

A federal jury in Washington on Tuesday found Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann not guilty of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors for Special Counsel John Durham’s office had claimed Sussmann misrepresented himself during a meeting with the FBI’s general counsel in 2016 in hopes of orchestrating an ‘October surprise’ against his rival Donald Trump.

Durham and his team have been working on this for nearly three years, and this was the first trial against an accused person by the Office of Special Counsel. It didn’t take long for the jurors to conclude that the case against Sussman was wrong.

For those who could benefit from a refresher – you’d be forgiven for thinking, “John Durham’s name sounds familiar, but I can’t remember why I’m supposed to care about him” – let’s revisit our previous coverage and explain how we got there. That much.

The initial investigation into Trump’s Russia scandal, led by former special adviser Robert Mueller, led to a series of stark findings: The former president’s 2016 political operation researched, embraced, capitalized on and lied about Russian aid – then took steps to obstruct the investigation into foreign interference.

Trump’s White House was unhappy, and the Justice Department’s inspector general conducted a lengthy investigation into the Mueller investigation. Unsurprisingly, the IG office found nothing inappropriate.

This, of course, fueled Trump’s outrage even further, so then-Attorney General Bill Barr brought in a federal prosecutor – US Attorney John Durham – to conduct his own investigation into the probe. in the fall of 2019.

After a long period of apparent inactivity, the prosecutor last September indicted cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI. Soon after, evidence emerged that Durham’s indictment was misleading, relying on selective citations and omitting relevant details from their proper context. In December, Sussman’s lawyers disclosed evidence that raised further doubts about the reliability of Durham’s charges.

Indeed, the whole affair was terribly strange. Sussman met with the FBI nearly six years ago to discuss alleged links between Trump Organization computers and the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. According to Durham, he claimed he was not acting on Clinton’s behalf when he was covertly. Sussman’s defense team said he never claimed not to have clients, and it didn’t matter who he worked for anyway.

The case nevertheless went to trial, where Durham failed.

At this point, Durham’s investigation of the Russian scandal investigation took longer than Mueller’s original investigation.

Indeed, let’s not forget that during the Mueller investigation, Trump and his allies regularly argued that the investigation was taking too long, costing taxpayers too much, and had to conclude. In all that time, Mueller and his team have compiled an impressive list of criminal convictions.

Is there a chance we’re now hearing chatter about Durham’s increasingly wasteful exercise?

Update: The foreperson, who did not give her name, told reporters outside the courthouse that “I think we could have used our time more wisely.” Ouch.