Last Friday, Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, testified that she approved the sharing of debunked allegations linking Donald Trump and the Kremlin-backed Alfa Bank with the media before the 2016 election.
At the trial of Michael Sussman, the first person indicted by Special Counsel John Durham in connection with his Russia origins probe, Mook testified that Marc Elias initially briefed him on Alfa Bank.
As part of that decision, he told The New York Times that he also talked to then-senior adviser Jake Sullivan – now White House National Security Advisor- and campaign chairman John Podesta about whether to share the information.
‘I discussed it with Hillary as well,’ Mook said in court.
According to him, the campaign was not ‘totally confident in the legitimacy of the data’, so they hoped a reporter would evaluate the claims to see if they were ‘accurate’ or ‘substantive.’
‘I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,’ Mook added.
Afterward, they decided to give it to the reporter, he said.
‘I recall it being a member of our press staff,’ Mook explained. ‘We authorized a staff member to share it with the media.’
Now, another bombshell has dropped.
According to Durham’s documents, the FBI falsely claimed that the Alfa Bank information came from the Justice Department. Rather, Sussmann brought the proposal directly to the FBI, with the leadership being familiar with its origins as bad political opposition research.
The New York Post is reporting:
FBI agents probing since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between Donald Trump and a Russian bank believed that the allegations had originated with the Department of Justice — when in fact they came from Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, who had shopped them to the bureau’s then-general counsel days earlier.
In the latest revelation to emerge from Sussmann’s trial in DC federal court on a count of lying to the FBI, special counsel John Durham’s prosecutors revealed that investigators had received an electronic communication citing a referral from the DOJ “on or about” Sept. 19, 2016, the same day Sussmann met with James Baker, then the FBI’s top lawyer.
This resolves the mystery of the DOJ tip that came in on the same day that Sussmann took the fake Alfa data to the FBI's general counsel. Turns out it's the same fake tip. Through corruption and/or incompetence the FBI made it look as if the tip came from two separate streams. https://t.co/z1ZQvsKcry
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) May 24, 2022
In this case, it seems the FBI purposely misrepresented the situation by using a false DOJ referral. This made it appear as though the Alfa Bank information had originated from an anonymous third source. The truth is, it was Hillary Clinton who revealed the information, and the FBI knew who the source was and what the connections were to the campaign.
In order to keep separate from a source, sometimes investigators need to be kept in the dark. In any case, how can such a position be justified considering the source of the information?
FBI Agent Ryan Gaynor, who provided testimony on Monday on behalf of the prosecution, testified that the decision to obstruct the agents from seeing information on the source was decided at the top of the agency. He also said that he likely would have handled the matter differently had he known Sussmann worked for Hillary Clinton, which would have included not volunteering for the case in the first place.
The Post continues:
In one Oct. 3, 2016, email, agent Heide wrote to Gaynor, “We really want to interview the source of all this information. Any way we can track down who this guy is and how we’re getting this information?”
Supervisory Special Agent Daniel Wierzbicki followed up: “An interview with the source of info … may allow us to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the white paper.”
Gaynor responded that it was being discussed at headquarters, but did not provide the identity of the source.
On Monday, he said he may have come to a different conclusion about the hold hindering the investigation if he had known Sussmann was acting as an attorney for the Clinton campaign when he turned over the information.
In short, the lower-level agents wanted to interview Sussmann even though they didn’t know who he was to gather more information about his claim. Gaynor kept the hold in place due to the failure of his superiors to tell him the complete truth about Sussmann. In hindsight, he would have changed the situation if he knew Sussmann was influenced by politics.
Obviously, that begs the question. In the Alfa Bank story, why did former FBI Director James Comey and the rest of the FBI leadership intentionally obscure the source? Why lie that it came from the DOJ?
These actions are only necessary for pushing a false narrative that otherwise wouldn’t hold up under minimal scrutiny. Alfa Bank was clearly an important story to Comey and his team, so they did everything they could to keep the story alive.
In the end, it seems everyone was in on the ruse, and no one is being held accountable. Durham is exposing the scandal for all to see in a way that we can’t ignore.