Michael Sussmann

December 3, 2018 – Judicial Watch sues for records of FBI meetings with Clinton-DNC law firm, Perkins Coie in 2016

Michael Sussmann (l) and James Baker (Credit: Perkins Coie/public domain)

“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking records of all meetings in 2016 between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and the Perkins Coie law firm. The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly paid Fusion GPS to create the “salacious and unverified” Clinton-DNC anti-Trump dossier.

The lawsuit cites a specific media report that FBI top lawyer Baker met with Perkins Coie lawyers to discuss allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. The meeting reportedly took place weeks before the 2016 election and before the FBI secured a controversial FISA spy warrant targeting then-candidate Trump’s campaign.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the DOJ failed to respond to an October 9, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02617)) seeking:

All records concerning any and all meetings between former FBI general counsel James Baker and one or more attorneys from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s private law firm during 2016.

On October 4, 2018, Fox News reported that Baker told congressional investigators that Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann “initiated contact with him and provided documents and computer storage devices on Russian hacking.” The contact was made in late 2016 as federal investigators prepared a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

At the time, Perkins Coie had hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig into President Trump’s background. Fusion GPS paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the anti-Trump dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.

The DNC and Clinton campaign’s funding of the unverified dossier was revealed in a memo from House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes which was disclosed publicly on February 2, 2018.

According to an October 24, 2017, report, Perkins Coie lawyer Marc E. Elias retained Fusion GPS in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC: “The Clinton campaign and DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.” Fusion GPS gave Steele’s dossier and other research documents to Elias.

“The real collusion scandal is the hand-in-hand effort by the Clinton campaign and the Obama DOJ/FBI to spy upon and destroy Donald J. Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The FBI, pulled by the troika of Comey/McCabe/Strzok, became an arm of the Clinton campaign. And our new lawsuit aims to get to the bottom of the massive scandal.” (Judicial Watch, 12/03/2018)

October 15, 2018 – Carter Page files a defamation lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and Perkins Coie, which commissioned the infamous Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier

Marc Elias (Credit: Getty Images)

Onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against the Democratic National Committee and a law firm that represented them.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a federal Oklahoma court against the DNC, Perkins Coie, and Perkins Coie partners Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann, is about obtaining “justice,” Page said.

“It goes beyond any damages or any financial aspects,” Page told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday night. “There have been so many lies as you are alluding to, and you look at the damage it did to our democratic systems and institutions of government back in 2016. I’m just trying to get some justice in terms of getting some disclosure.”

Michael Sussmann (Credit: Perkins Coie)

Elias represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump. Fusion GPS is the same firm that commissioned former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who authored the so-called “Trump dossier” that contained scandalous and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia and was used by the FBI to help obtain the authority to spy on Page.

According to the dossier, Page was the Trump campaign’s intermediary to Russia and proposed disclosing stolen DNC emails via WikiLeaks, among other claims. Page has vehemently denied the allegations about him in the dossier.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 10/15/2018)

October 13, 2018 – Ron Johnson demands records of FBI’s meeting with DNC attorney during campaign

Ron Johnson (l) and Christopher Wray (Credit: Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press)

“Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is calling on FBI Director Christopher Wray to hand over documents related to a former FBI lawyer’s meeting during the 2016 campaign with an attorney that represented the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.

The meeting was revealed during a congressional deposition that former FBI general counsel James Baker gave on Oct. 3. Baker told lawmakers that in September 2016 he met with Michael Sussmann, a partner at Perkins Coie.

As the lead law firm for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, Perkins Coie hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Sources familiar with Baker’s testimony say he testified that Sussmann provided him with documents related to Russian hacking of Democrats. He also testified that the meeting was unusual.

Republican lawmakers have questioned why Baker was meeting with a top Democratic lawyer at a crucial point in the campaign. Baker was interviewed as part of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe, as well as the Steele dossier.

Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, is also asking Wray for FBI notes of interviews, known as 302s, conducted with Bruce Ohr, a Department of Justice official who met numerous times before and after the election with Steele. Ohr’s wife also worked for Fusion GPS while the firm was investigating President Donald Trump.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/13/2018)

October 3, 2018: Transcripts reveal James Baker was personally involved in FISA warrant for Carter Page and confirms other irregularities

(Credit: Fox News)

“A former top FBI lawyer acknowledged he was personally involved in the warrant application to surveil then-Trump campaign aide Carter Page and confirmed other “unusual” steps taken in the FBI’s Russia probe in 2016, during a closed-door congressional interview.

“I was aware of the [Russia] investigation,” James Baker told House investigators in OctoberFox News has confirmed details of the transcript which is still under government review before its public release.

Baker said he was briefed on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant “as time went by” and recalled how he got involved early in the process. The warrant relied heavily on the unverified anti-Trump dossier, which was financed by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign via the law firm Perkins Coie.

“I don’t want to see it at the end, like when it is about to go to the director [for] certification, because then it is hard to make changes then,” Baker told House investigators when Republicans controlled the chamber. “So I wanted to see it when it was gelled enough but before it went through the process and before it went to the director. I wanted to see it and I wanted to read it because I knew it was sensitive.”

Fox News confirmed the Baker transcript also includes the following exchange with investigators regarding his involvement in the surveillance application:

Question: “So that is why you took the abnormal or unusual step in this particular situation because it was sensitive?”

Baker: “Yes.”

Question: “So you actually got involved because you want to make sure that, what?”

Baker: “I wanted to make sure that we were filing something that would adhere to the law and stand up over time.” (Read more: Fox News, 1/22/2019) (Baker Transcript)

October 25, 2017 – Editorial: When Scandals Collide

Andrew C. McCarthy

By: Andrew McCarthy

(…) “we have learned finally, courtesy of the Washington Post, that Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the notorious “Trump Dossier,” was funded by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Of course, the Clinton campaign and the DNC always want layers of deniability and obfuscation – and let’s note that it has served them well – so they hire lawyers to do the icky stuff rather than doing it directly. Then, when the you-know-what hits the fan, outfits like Fusion GPS try to claim that they can’t share critical information with investigators because of (among other things) attorney-client confidentiality concerns.

Here, the Clinton campaign and the DNC retained the law firm of Perkins Coie; in turn, one of its partners, Marc E. Elias, retained Fusion GPS. We don’t know how much Fusion GPS was paid, but the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to Perkins Coie during the 2016 campaign (i.e., between mid-2015 and late 2016).

In its capacity as attorney for the DNC, Perkins Coie – through another of its partners, Michael Sussman – is also the law firm that retained CrowdStrike, the cyber security outfit, upon learning in April 2016 that the DNC’s servers had been hacked.

A friend draws my attention to an intriguing coincidence.

Interesting: Despite the patent importance of the physical server system to the FBI and Intelligence-Community investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Bureau never examined the DNC servers. Evidently, the DNC declined to cooperate to that degree, and the Obama Justice Department decided not to issue a subpoena to demand that the servers be turned over (just like the Obama Justice Department decided not to issue subpoenas to demand the surrender of critical physical evidence in the Clinton e-mails investigation).

Instead, the conclusion that Russia is responsible for the invasion of the DNC servers rests on the forensic analysis conducted by CrowdStrike. Rather than do its own investigation, the FBI relied on a contractor retained by the DNC’s lawyers.” (Read more: National Review, 10/25/2017)

September 19, 2016 – Top FBI official, James Baker meets with DNC lawyer, Michael Sussmann, who then leaks to media

Michael Sussman (Credit: Perkins Coie)

“Former FBI General Counsel James Baker met with the Democratic party’s top lawyer, Michael Sussmann, to discuss the ongoing investigation by the bureau into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia. This meeting happened prior to the FBI’s initial warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page, sources close to the investigation have told SaraACarter.com. Moreover, information provided by Baker, who gave extensive testimony Wednesday to lawmakers behind closed doors, coincides with the House Intelligence Committee’s final Russia report that suggests Sussmann was also leaking unverified information on the Trump campaign to journalists around the same time he met with Baker, according to the report and sources close the investigation.

These sources say this new information from Baker exposes the bureau’s failure to inform the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that the evidence used to spy on Page was partisan and unverified. It further reveals the extensive role and close connection Sussmann, a cybersecurity and national security lawyer with Perkins Coie, had with the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS. The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton Campaign retained Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie during the 2016 election to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Fusion GPS then hired former British spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the unverified dossier during the summer and fall of 2016. In 2017, this reporter first published that Baker was purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media.  At the time, the bureau would not comment on Baker and would not confirm or deny any investigation. Baker, who resigned from the bureau in May, was the FBI’s top counsel and a close advisor to former Director James Comey.

James Baker (Credit: CSpan2)

In 2016, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to the law firm, according to reports. Sussmann, however, is also connected to CrowdStrike.  CrowdStrike is the private cybersecurity that was retained by Perkins Coie for the DNC to investigate the breach of its server after it was discovered that it had been hacked in April 2016. Although the FBI has conducted its own investigation into the breach of the server the Democratic National Committee never gave the FBI permission to access the server itself.

“These parallels between the law firm and CrowdStrike also need to be investigated,” said a former FBI official familiar with the security firm. “All of these connections aren’t coincidences and it smells to high heaven.”

According to lawmakers, he explained in detail how the Russia probe was handled by bureau officials in an “abnormal way” and detailed his meeting with Sussmann. Fox News first reported Baker’s testimony quoting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who said, “some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature.”  Meadows, who attended the deposition of Baker, told SaraACarter.com he would not elaborate on the specifics of the interview, but said, “Mr. Baker’s testimony provided a number of new facts that needed further exploration.”  Meadows expects more information in the future and follow-up interviews.

Baker was forthcoming about what he knew and what took place during the investigation, multiple sources said. The information regarding the meeting between Baker and Sussmann would indicate that the FBI was more than likely aware that the law firm was hired by the DNC to investigate alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but withheld that information from the secret FISC when it sought the warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Page in October.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 10/03/2018)

Jeff Carlson of themarketswork.com pinpoints the possible date of Sussman and Baker’s meeting in the footnotes of a House Intelligence Committee report, to September 2016.

“In the House Intelligence Committee’s final Report on Russian Active Measures, mention is made of a meeting between James Baker and an unknown party in footnote 43, on page 57. This is a particularly heavily redacted portion but the following details are available:

“In September 2016 [redacted] shared similar information in a one-on-one meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted], Dec. 18, 2017. Around the same time as his meeting with FBI, [redacted] shared the information with journalists, [redacted] of Slate, who published an article at the end of October. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted] Dec. 18, 2017; [redacted] “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?,” Slate, Oct. 31, 2016. Candidate Clinton promoted the [redacted] article to her social media followers the same day it was published.” (Intelligence.house (pdf)

(Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/04/2018)

Additional Update:

“On Sept. 19, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, who had sought out the meeting. Baker told Congressional lawmakers in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony—a transcript of which was reviewed for this article—that Sussmann presented him with “a stack of material I don’t know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something.”

The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to what Baker described as “a surreptitious channel of communications” between the Trump Organization and “a Russian organization associated with the Russian Government.”

Baker was describing alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in the Trump Tower. These allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven to be false, were widely covered in the media.

Baker’s testimony also shows that Sussmann was speaking with the media at the same time he had approached Baker, who noted that Sussmann had also provided the info to the media and had told him that “the New York Times was aware of this.”

Baker testified that the FBI approached The New York Times and convinced them to hold off on their reporting while the FBI investigated Sussmann’s information.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/24/2019)

Late April 2016 – Clinton’s law firm hires Crowdstrike, Fusion GPS, and they are the lone sources for the ‘Russian hookers’ and ‘Russian hackers’ claims

Michael Sussman (Credit: Perkins-Coie)

The Washington Post reports that Michael Sussman, a partner with Perkins Coie and who represents the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is responsible for hiring Crowdstrike.

“DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.

“It’s never a call any executive wants to get, but the IT team knew something was awry,” ­Dacey said. And they knew it was serious enough that they wanted experts to investigate.

That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussmann, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called Henry, whom he has known for many years.

Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how. (Read more: Washington Post, 6/14/2016)