John Durham, a special counsel appointed near the end of the Trump administration, has been investigating any impropriety around Robert Mueller's investigation. Mueller probed whether Trump colluded with Russia and it resulted in 34 indictments and cited at least ten incidents in which Trump potentially obstructed justice.
The end of Durham's investigation is coming up this weekend, due to a statute of limitations, but so far Durham hasn't been able to find much of anything. The New York Times reported this week that the only thing he could find is suspicion that a lawyer lied to the FBI.
Lawyer Michael Sussmann served as the Democratic National Committee's cybersecurity lawyer for the Russia investigation and Durham has accused him of making false statements. He will reportedly recommend to the Justice Department that Sussmann be indicted by a grand jury.
"The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016," said the Times. "Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies."
"An indictment is not a certainty: On rare occasions, grand juries decline prosecutors' requests. But Mr. Sussmann's lawyers, Sean M. Berkowitz and Michael S. Bosworth of Latham & Watkins, acknowledged on Wednesday that they expected him to be indicted, while denying he made any false statement," the report also said.
"Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime," they told the Times. "Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work. We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name."
The accusations focus on a meeting Sussmann had Sept. 19, 2016, with the FBI in which he relayed data and analysis from cybersecurity researchers who thought they may have uncovered evidence of covert communications between Trump Organization computers and a Russian bank. This discovery appears to be the source for Trump's allegations that "they spied on my campaign." The FBI ultimately decided the information had no merit. When Mueller took over the investigation he didn't include it as part of his research.
Durham said that the inconsistency he found in the whole Russia probe was that Sussmann said he was not meeting the FBI on behalf of any client. When testifying to Congress in 2017, however, Sussmann said he sought the meeting for an unnamed client he said was a cybersecurity expert involved in sifting through the data. Durham also said that when working on the Russian bank information he billed the 2016 Clinton campaign for the work.
Sussmann's lawyers say that he was there for the cyber security expert, not the Clinton campaign and that billing documents are misleading because he wasn't charging the Clinton campaign for the Russian bank issue, but needed to show internally that he was working on something.
Trump has been hoping to go after the law firm for a long time because it was the group that took over payment to Fusion GPS for the Steele dossier after Republicans handed it over to Democrats. It is the source of unproven allegations that there exists a pornographic videotape of Trump with prostitutes while in a Moscow hotel. Those allegations have long bothered Trump.
The Times reported that Durham and his team has been trying to find evidence that the Clinton campaign and the Perkins Coie law firm gave knowingly false information to the FBI about Trump and Russia to cause an investigation ahead of election day. It appears that Durham was trying to bring charges to the entire law firm, but outside lawyers reviewed the evidence finding it "insufficient for any legal sanction."
Ahead of the 2020 election one of Durham's lead prosecutors resigned, partly out of concern that the investigative team is "being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done," said the report.
Durham set out to prove that the FBI had done wrong, in this case he's claiming that the FBI was the one wronged.