Attorney Michael Sussmann denied acting "on behalf of any particular client," despite being a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer, when he approached the FBI about ultimately dubious allegations of Trump campaign ties to Russia, a former FBI official testified Thursday.
Former FBI general counsel James Baker told jurors in Washington, D.C., federal court, he was "100% confident" Sussmann was lying in his denial Sept. 19, 2016, at FBI headquarters, the New York Post reported.
"I think it was pretty close to the beginning of the meeting — part of his introduction to the meeting," Baker said in testimony during Sussmann's trial Thursday, according to reports.
"He said that he was not appearing before me on behalf of any particular client. He had information of concern about an apparent surreptitious communications channel between Alfa-Bank, which he described as being connected to the Kremlin in Russia, and some part of the Trump Organization in the U.S."
The allegation is the basis of the one count of lying to the FBI by Sussmann, 57, stemming from special counsel John Durham's investigation of the investigators to determine the origination of the Obama administration-era Russia probe.
That FBI operation led to former special counsel Robert Mueller's own investigation into potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, which was used to "spy" on the Trump campaign, transition, and ultimately the administration, former President Donald Trump has alleged.
Durham's court filings have alleged Sussmann's supposed tip for the FBI was used a predicate to launch the investigation into the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, potentially designed as a diversion from political messaging on Hillary Clinton's emails.
Despite the Sussmann defense saying Baker's memory was "clear as mud," CNN reported, Baker said he was "100% confident" that Sussmann denied acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
Baker said he "trusted that the statement was truthful," because Sussmann was "a serious lawyer" and "serious guy."
"I thought he was coming to see me as a good citizen who had obtained some information," Baker testified. "Knowing Michael, I would think he would want to help the government."
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