I'll just say right off the bat that none of the lawyers I know -- zip, nada -- believe these charges John Durham brought against Michael Sussman for lying to the FBI have any solid foundation, and most of them expect the charges to be dismissed. Durham took so long and basically came up with nothing, but prosecutors are supposed to charge something! So he did.
Here's John Berman, Jeffrey Toobin, and Laura Jarrett talking about the case on New Day this morning:
"So Jeffrey Toobin, no indictments, no charges for the launching of the investigation itself which is why this even happened. Again, this has been going on longer than the Mueller investigation itself and it's about to wrap up, we understand," John Berman said.
"I think Counselor Jarrett gave a very accurate description of the charges here. But if I can just add how weird this case is and how unusual even this case is," Jeffrey Toobin said.
"First of all, Sussman isn't charged with lying to an FBI agent. He's charged with voluntarily going to a lawyer at the FBI, the top lawyer Jim Baker, and describing what might be a crime and saying, 'You should look into this.' In that conversation, he says, 'I'm not representing a client generally. Specifically, I'm just sort of reporting this.' That's what's alleged. There are no notes of this conversation. There is -- this is a five-year-old conversation. And in Baker's report to his colleague, the colleague writes down, as everyone knows that Sussman's firm represents the Clinton campaign. So there was no mystery about who Sussman was or where Sussman was coming from. So the idea that this is some lie that changed the FBI and changed their investigation just seems deeply bizarre to me, if this statement was ever said at all because there are no notes.
"There's no one present there other than the two lawyers, and it was almost exactly five years ago, because the statute of limitations is going to run out in a couple days. That's why this case was brought today. So, not only did the Durham investigation labor mightily and brought forth a mouse, this isn't much of a mouse. I don't know what this case is."
"Just to add to your point, Jeffrey, what strikes me so much is that Trump and his allies have been talking about James Baker being part of this alleged cabal at the FBI, which is not founded in any fact at all, but that was their theory. Now Durham's entire case rests on Jim Baker being truthful. Right? If Jim Baker's recollection actually falls apart on this or it wasn't as sound as Durham paints it to be, then the whole case, to me, falls apart," Laura Jarrett said.
"Jeffrey, address the bigger picture which is, again, you heard the people on Fox talking about this blowing up everything. I mean, what were the deliverables here, compared to what was alleged or promised?" Berman said.
"The idea that the former president and his allies have been pushing is that there was something corrupt about the Russian investigation from the beginning, that there never was a legitimate investigation about whether the former president and his campaign were in cahoots with Russia during the 2016 campaign," Toobin said.
"What Robert Mueller found, as people may recall, was that there were extensive contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, just nothing that rose to the level of a criminal offense he could charge. But certainly there is nothing that Durham has found so far that suggests there was anything improper about this FBI investigation at all. And that was what was supposed to be at the heart of this investigation. And so far at least, and this has been years as Laura pointed out, nothing has been shown to be improper that the FBI did."