James Baker Identifies Another Source Behind the FISA Application
It's James Baker's Turn To Throw Rosenstein Under A Bus
Michael Sussmann, formerly with the U.S. Department of Justice, is a nationally-recognized privacy, cybersecurity and national security lawyer. He is engaged on some of the most sophisticated, high-stakes matters today, such as his representation of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in their responses to Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election. This work was detailed in the best-selling books The Apprentice (2018), The Perfect Weapon (2018), Russian Roulette (2018), and Hacks (2017).
Michael has been ranked as a “Privacy and Data Security Expert” in the Chambers Global and Chambers USA directories. He is often quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other media. His legal work has been cited by investigative reporters in two other important books: Power Wars (2015) and Dragnet Nation (2015). He has provided Congressional testimony and litigated national security cases in federal court.
You'll see why I said in the first post "In a Hillary Clinton administration the sky would have been the limit for Sussman--or close to it," especially when you read the rest of the details of his involvement with the FBI during the 2016 campaign.
The most significant new information that comes out of Carlson's summary is that
- Baker had three contacts with Sussman, all during the month or so preceding the FISA application,
- that he was fully aware of who Sussman was and whom he represented,
- as well as the fact that Sussman was spreading the same stories to the New York Times.
In other words, Baker was fully aware that Sussman was a Clinton campaign operative spreading "dirt" on Trump--further evidence, if any were needed, that the FBI was working hand in glove with the Clinton campaign. Here is Carlson's summary of these points:
Baker had at least three meetings with Sussman—the first in person and the following two by phone. During the subsequent meetings, Baker discovered that Sussman was speaking to the media regarding the same information he shared with Baker.
Baker admitted during his testimony that he knew Sussman had professional involvement with the DNC.
Baker acknowledged that he soon discovered that Sussman was also speaking to The New York Times regarding that same information. The FBI later contacted The New York Times and asked them to hold off on publishing while they investigated the matter.
The information Sussman passed to Baker also appeared in the so-called Steele dossier in a memo dated Sept. 14, 2016. Notably, Sussman met with Baker five days later, Sept. 19, 2016. Baker had initially testified he believed the meeting took place sometime after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application on Carter Page was approved. Lawmakers later provided a corrected, earlier date.
Imagine: that's the best, most self serving, face Baker can put on his interaction with Sussman!
However, most of Baker's interaction with Sussman had to do with the Alfa Bank fake news story. Here is my version, from the first post above, of that involvement:
Nevertheless, there is significance in Sussman's approach to the FBI, even if his background information didn't really contribute anything to the probable cause for a FISA application. As I stated above, Sussman's approach to the FBI occurred at a point in time, September 2016, when the FBI would have been fully engaged in preparing the FISA application--which was approved on October 21, 2016. While necessarily speculative, Sussman's approach to the FBI suggests that he, perhaps through Glenn Simpson's operation at Fusion GPS (which included Chris Steele, of course, but also Bruce Ohr at DoJ), had been made aware that the FBI was in the process of working up a FISA application. The idea that Sussman simply stopped by to provide Baker with interesting material on Russian hacking and engaged in no form of advocacy strains credulity--after all, it was Sussman in the first place who commissioned the "dossier" on behalf of the Clinton campaign. At a minimum, this appearance of possible collusion between the FBI and the Clinton campaign for the purpose of initiating or forwarding investigation of the Trump campaign demands close scrutiny.
Look at it this way. Sussman's political connections undoubtedly gained him access to the very highest levels of the FBI. If you or I walked in to the FBI to inform them that Russians were engaged in hacking, we'd have been politely informed that the FBI is well aware of that and, equally politely but firmly, shown the door. Now, you might say, Sussman had as a client the DNC--an organization that claimed to have been hacked by the Russians. Surely that would be reason for James Baker to pay more attention to what Sussman had to say than he might pay to the complaints of others. But Sussman's client, the DNC, had refused to give the FBI access to their compromised (or so they claimed) server. That refusal was surely on the advice of counsel--Sussman--and it was Sussman who put the DNC in touch with Crowdstrike to "investigate" the server. Why then, except for Sussman's political connections, should Baker have given him the time of day, when Sussman's real motive was clearly not to assist with a past crime but to urge the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign? The obvious answer is that the thing that got Sussman through Baker's door was his political clout. Would a lawyer for the Trump campaign have been afforded the same courtesy? One might well doubt that.
AND MORE dots are being connected. Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller leads the way and Jeff Carlson does an excellent job fleshing out some of the details. As I said earlier, Sussman's visit to Baker couldn't possibly have been a simple document dump of background on Russian hacking. It turns out, to no one's surprise, that Sussman was simultaneously planting false information (fake news?) with both the FBI and various media outlets, almost certainly in coordination with Fusion GPS's active measures operation.
In a report issued by Devin Nunes' HPSCI on Russian active measures, dated in March 22, 2018, we read about a source who met with Baker, and we now know that source was Sussman. The footnote in which this passage appears is over half redacted, but includes this, in partially unredacted form:
“In September 2016 [Sussman] 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, [Sussman] 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.”
That Slate article, of course, was the notorious fake news that Russia's Alfa Bank was in a "sustained relationship" with the Trump organization and that the traffic between Alfa and a mysterious server in Trump Tower somehow "appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. 'At election-related moments, the traffic peaked.'”
This story has long since been totally debunked. The server in question was owned by a company named Cendyn and was used for email marketing for hotels and resorts. Interestingly, however, the Slate article links this fake news with the initiation of the FBI's CI investigation into Trump's supposed ties to Russia. That investigation was initiated on 7/31/16, not long after Sussman met with Baker ("mid-June") regarding the supposed hack of the DNC server. So, what we're left with is that the FBI, at some point prior to the end of July, was fed a cock and bull story about Alfa Bank and a server in Trump Tower--this story was presumably brought forward by Sussman. The same story was repeated (as confirmed by the HPSCI report) by Sussman in September when he visited Baker, and was also fed to Slate by Sussman. The same day that the article appeared, Hillary Clinton began promoting it on social media. The fake news story was quickly debunked, but garnered lots of publicity and fed the Russia Hoax narrative that has continued to this day in one form or another--most notably the reprehensible activities of Team Mueller.
Thus we see that Sussman leveraged his reputation as a cyber security law expert to spread disinformation against the Trump campaign, in coordination with Fusion GPS. And this episode almost certainly only scratches the surface of Sussman's activities, as he is know to have had many other contacts with members of the liberal anti-Trump journalistic class.