Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Friday morning legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN "Early Start" host Laura Jarrett took a hard look at the one charge that Special Counsel John Durham came up with as part of his investigation of the FBI and said it looked like a desperate move to come up with something as he faced a deadline to wrap up his work after five years.
As the Associated Press reported, cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussman has been accused by Durham of "hiding that he was working with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign during a September 2016 conversation he had with the FBI's general counsel, when he relayed concerns from cybersecurity researchers about potentially suspicious contacts between a Russian bank and a Trump Organization server. The FBI looked into the matter but ultimately found no evidence of a secret backchannel."
Addressing the accusation on Friday morning, attorney Toobin admitted he found the charge bizarre and likely to fall apart under further scrutiny, while Jarrett noted that Durham spent five years and came up almost empty-handed.
"I think counselor Jarrett gave a very accurate description of the charges here," Toobin began. "But, if I can just add how weird this case is and how unusual even this case is. 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," he continued. "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, everyone knows that Susman'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 was 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," he added. "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."
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