BREAKING: Ashli Babbitt Shooting Documents UNCOVERED
BREAKING: New Questions about U.S. Capitol Police Shooting of Unarmed Ashli Babbitt
DHS Ends Worksite Enforcement to Protect ‘Noncitizen Victims’ from Deportation
Targeting Trump: Durham Uncovers New Clinton, FBI Connections in Russia Probe
BREAKING: New Questions about U.S. Capitol Police Shooting of Unarmed Ashli Babbitt
Previously secret records we have obtained show there was no good reason to shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt in the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The Biden-Garland Justice Department and the Pelosi Congress have much to answer for over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police.
We received 532 pages of documents through a May 2021 FOIA lawsuit filed after DC failed to respond to two April, 2021 FOIA requests we submitted to the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for records related to Babbitt’s death (Judicial Watch v. The District of Columbia (No. 2021 CA 001710 B)).
Babbitt was shot and killed as she climbed through a broken interior window in the United States Capitol. The 14-year Air Force veteran was unarmed. The identity of the shooter was kept secret by Congress as well as federal and local authorities for eight months until U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd went public to try to defend his killing of Ms. Babbitt.
On April 14, 2021, the Justice Department issued a press release stating: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt …”
The new records include the January 6, 2021, Metro PD Death Report for Babbitt (identified as Ashli Elizabeth McEntee-Babbitt Pamatian). The investigators note that the possible Manner of Death was “Homicide (Police Involved Shooting).” The narrative description of the “Terminal Event” (Babbitt’s death) notes that “the victim was shot inside of the U.S. Capitol building. After being shot, the victim was transported to Medstar for advance life support, however after several attempts to revive the victim, she succumb [sic] to her injury and was pronounced dead at 1515 hours by Dr. [redacted] the attending physician.” Under the “Investigation/Medical History” portion of the report, the investigators wrote, Babbitt “was involved in a first amendment demonstration at the U.S. Capitol…. the decedent was shot by a member of Law Enforcement after breaching a secured room at First Street, Southeast, Washington, DC, (U.S. Capitol Building).” Under the description of the Body, the investigators note, “The decedent suffered a single shot wound to the upper portion of the left chest near the clavicle.”
In a January 6, 2021, “Incident Report,” under “Public Narrative,” the investigators wrote, “On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Subject-1 had entered the United States Capitol during a riotous event. While inside of the building, Subject-1 had attempted to enter a secured area and was shot in the chest. Subject-1 was transported to a local trauma hospital where lifesaving efforts provide futile. Subeject-1 was pronounced dead at 1515 hours by Dr. [redacted].”
Under the “Internal Narrative” section, the investigators wrote:
On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Lieutenant Michael Byrd of the Unites States Capitol Police was assigned as the House Chamber Commander during the day work tour of duty. At approximately 1446 hours, while providing protection to the House Chambers during a riotous act, Lieutenant Byrd discharged his issued service pistol and struck Subject-1 in the chest. Lieutenant Byrd’s issued service pistol was initially secured by members of the United States Capitol Police, Internal Affairs Division, however, the service pistol was ultimately taken by the Department of Forensic Sciences. The office involved shooting is being investigated by the MPD-IAD and is assigned IS# [redacted].
On January 7, 2021, a “Senior Police Officer/Agent” in the Metro PD Internal Affairs Division emailed an Assistant U.S. Attorney:
[P]lease let this serve as an official notification regarding a serious use of force. On January 6, 2021, United States Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd … was involved in a fatal, Use of Force (Service Pistol) approximately 1446 hours while in an area of the Capitol building known as the Speakers Lobby. Lieutenant Byrd discharged his service pistol one time which struck Ms. Ashli McEntee in her left shoulder … I will be the lead agent regarding Lieutenant Byrd’s UOF
An April 14, 2021, letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips to Metro PD Assistant Chief Wilfredo Manlapaz, notifies Manlapaz:
This office has considered the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged use of excessive force in the above-captioned case [United States Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd]. We have decided to decline criminal prosecution of the above-listed officer as a result of this incident. Accordingly, this matter is referred to you for whatever administrative action you deem appropriate.
A Metro PD Internal Affairs Division report indicates that the Internal Affairs Division interviewed Lt. Michael Byrd and another United States Capitol Police officer (whose name is withheld), on January 6, 2021, at 7:38 p.m. and the interview was recorded. The investigators note that Byrd, on duty that day since 7:00 a.m., was only equipped with his service weapon, but no ASP (telescoping baton) or OC (pepper spray). He’d last qualified on the shooting range on October 22, 2020. The report notes, “Lieutenant Byrd declined to provide a statement until he can consult an attorney.” The interviewing agent asked Byrd to have his attorney contact him.
The records include a January 6, 2021, Internal Affairs Division report of an interview conducted of a United States Capitol Police Sergeant, whose name is withheld:
Someone on the House Floor shouted that there had been shots fired. Sergeant [redacted] was advised that the sound was breaking glass, not gunshots. He radioed that the report of gunshots was incorrect, that it was glass breaking. Sergeant [redacted] was approached by an officer who advised that the sound was, in fact, gunshots. Sergeant- went back over the radio and reported that there were gunshots on the House Floor.
Sergeant [redacted] walked out of the House Chamber, into the Speaker’s Lobby and observed glass being broken out of the doors and windows at the east end of this area. He observed that an officer and Lieutenant Byrd had taken up positions and had their guns out. Sergeant [redacted] took his gun out and positioned himself behind a pillar in the Speaker’s Lobby.
A glass panel came completely out of one of the windows and a protester started to come through the opening. There was a lot of screaming and Sergeant—heard someone yelling, “get back, get back.”
Sergeant [redacted] was positioned furthest away from this barricaded door and Lieutenant Byrd was positioned the closest.
Sergeant [redacted] observed a white, female protester was climbing through an opened area where the glass pane had been knocked out. He heard a gunshot and this female fell backwards through the opening. The crowd on the other side of the barricaded east doors, began to step back and some put their hands in the air. Sergeant [redacted] observed Lieutenant Byrd step back just after hearing the gunshot. He did not see anything in the female protester’s hands prior to the gunshot.
Sergeant [redacted] never went on the other side of the barricaded east door. He also did not know that it was Lieutenant Byrd who shot his gun until he talked to him moments after it occurred. Lieutenant Byrd looked upset and stated, “I was the one who took the shot.”
In a written transcript of the interview of the aforementioned U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, it appears his name is Sergeant McKenna. He says during the interview that the woman climbing through the window was wearing a “gray sweater.” The interviewee continued:
Uh, I saw Lieutenant Byrd kinda. I don’t know if it was before or after. Cause I was trying to figure this out of, but there was at one point where I remember seeing him and he kind of went like this and then came back up again. Uh, I don’t know if that was from him taking the shot and then stepping back from that shot or if it was before that, I can’t, no matter how I tried to rack my brain, I can’t, I can’t figure out when that happened, but uh, so I don’t know if something happened to him where [sic] caused him to take the shot or not.
I actually did what I did, but, uh, I was just, I dunno, I don’t know why it was such a crazy hectic moment that I don’t know what else I could add to it.
The interviewer asks the sergeant if he saw anything in the woman’s hands as she was climbing through the window, and he replies, “I didn’t see anything in her hands now.” Asked when he realized Byrd shot the woman, the sergeant replied, “I said, what, you know? And then he was like, I was the one who took the shot and I was like …” Speaking of Byrd’s reaction the sergeant said, “No, his eyes were red. He was, you could see he was visibly upset and he just, you know, kind of comfort him and told him, you know, we gotta get outta here.” The interviewing agent asked the sergeant about Babbitt being shot, “Did you go up to her [?].” He replied, “No, no, no. I maintained my position.”
After the shooting, the sergeant said Byrd directed him and other officers to go down “into the subway.” The interviewing agent then asks the sergeant several questions, saying, “And I know this is kind of obvious, but, but, I’m gonna ask it anyhow. You’ve worked for the Capitol police department for [redacted] now.” Sergeant replies, “Yes.” The agent then asks, “This was not a typical day, was it?” Sergeant replies, “Definitely not my craziest day there.” The agent, “Nothing like this has with now, has it.” Sergeant replies, “No I’d say the closest one was when we had the, the shots fired back in 2004, 2005 in the Rayburn building …” The agent continues, “Not to pull your man card at all, but was this a frightening situation?” Sergeant replies, “Oh yeah.” The sergeant continued, “Oh yeah. I’m not afraid to say I was, I was scared shit.”
In a January 6, 2021, summary report of an interview of another United States Capitol Police officer by the Internal Affairs Division investigator, the interviewee, who was immediately behind Byrd in the Speaker’s Lobby when Byrd shot Babbitt, said “He did not see Ms. McEntee [Babbitt] in possession of any potential weapons.” The report continued, “He reiterated that he did not observe that she was armed.” The United States Capitol Police officer claimed that “Lieutenant Byrd was shaking, he did not say anything…. Byrd was nervous, teary-eyed, and appeared very upset. His voice also shaky when he called for medical assistance over the radio. Lieutenant Byrd was still very upset.”
In the January 16, 2021, interview transcript of the above United States Capitol Police officer who witnessed the shooting of Babbitt, he reported that a man with a beard in a suit attended to Babbitt after she was shot, and both he and the sergeant above believed the man was with the House Sergeant-at-Arms office, but neither provided his identity. When asked about Lt. Byrd’s demeanor after the shooting, the officer said about Byrd, “He was shaky. He was, he was teary eyed. You know, you can just tell, like, I ain’t gonna say when somebody regrets to do something, when somebody is just nervous, you know, they’ll rub their head, they’ll pace back and forth.” When asked if he heard any verbal commands given by police prior to Babbitt being shot, he replied, “Not at that point” and then “I do not recall that.”
Another Capitol Police officer interviewed on February 4, 2021, by Metro PD’s Internal Affairs Division advised that prior to Babbitt being shot, “He did not hear any verbal commands.”
Another Capitol Police officer was interviewed on February 4, 2021. In the transcript of his interview, he said that after the shooting of Babbitt, Lt. Byrd “was down and out” and “almost in tears.” He noted that when Babbitt was shot, “it wasn’t that loud”, despite having one of his ears completely uncovered. He also reported that he did not hear any verbal commands given by officers.
A January 6, 2021, telephone interview report was of a man who’d claimed to have been in the House Chambers. The man said he saw Lt. Byrd position himself behind a pillar and claimed he heard Byrd shout “loud verbal commands” stating that he would “shoot.” The interviewee also said Byrd fired twice. He went on to say that he felt Byrd had “saved several people’s lives” through his actions. According to the transcript, the interviewee “reached out” to the Metro PD to give his statement.
In the transcript of this interview, the interviewee said, “We started talking about evacuating the, uh, all the members or we didn’t really have that conversation.” He went on to say of Byrd, “He was yelling, he was giving commands. Um, he was saying, I will shoot. Uh, he was saying some other stuff. I couldn’t clearly make out what he was saying, but he was definitely, uh, giving commands, no question about it.” He continued: “He [Byrd], uh, did everything he could do…. He was by himself, we were defending the front door and they were shaking it.” He went on to claim that Byrd “fired two shots.” The interviewee said he had a “conversation” with Byrd after Byrd shot Babbitt. He claimed that Byrd was “giving commands” and “threatening to use lethal force.”
A DC Department of Forensic Sciences crime scene examination report filed January 11, 2021, indicated that among Babbitt’s personal possessions was a “Para force” folding knife.
A DC Forensics crime scene examination report dated January 10, 2021, indicated that one spent shell casing was recovered from the scene. A police service weapon from “P1” [Lt. Byrd] was turned over to the Forensic department. The police observed a blood trail from the hallway outside the Speaker’s Lobby doors leading down to the first floor of the House in the security area. Babbitt’s backpack contained clothing, stickers, U.S. currency, a face mask, a California driver’s license in the name of Ashli McEntee, four credit cards in the same name, gloves, sunglasses, a wallet and cigarettes. The handgun turned over was a Glock 22 .40 cal. The shell casing was SPEER 40 S&W. 15 remaining cartridges were also turned over with a magazine. A “Trump Nation” and blood-spattered “Trump 2020” flags were also recovered.
In the June 15, 2021, official Internal Affairs Division Investigative Report issued on the Use of Force shooting of Babbitt by Lt. Michael Byrd, the Metro PD investigators noted that the “Violations that led to police contact” were “Felony Rioting/Unlawful Entry” and the “Violations during police contact” was “Felony Rioting.” The investigators further noted that Babbitt had no outstanding arrest warrants, but an entry under “Previous arrests” was fully redacted.
A description of events on January 6 in another report indicates that it was a “representative” on the House floor who first shouted “Shots fired” on January 6. The investigators note, “The crowd on the outside of the previously barricaded east doors began to step back, and some raised their hands in the air. Sergeant [redacted] did not see anything in Ms. Babbitt’s hands prior to hearing the gunshot.” According to the investigators they, “recovered ‘a para force’ folding knife in Ms. Babbitt’s pants pocket.”
These records are part of our broader investigation into the death of Babbitt and the January 6 disturbance.
In September, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking records related to the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building.
We recently filed a motion for discovery in our lawsuit against the United States Capitol Police (USCP) for emails and videos concerning the disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The Capitol Police are trying to shut down the lawsuit by arguing that the requested records are “not public records.”
On August 3, we obtained new documents showing the Washington, DC, Medical Examiner submitted a request to cremate Babbitt two days after gaining custody of her body. The documents also showed that Babbitt’s fingerprints were emailed to a person supposedly working for the DC government, which resulted in Microsoft “undeliverable” messages written in Chinese characters being returned.
In May, we sued both the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense for records regarding the deployment of armed forces around the Capitol complex in DC during January and February of 2021.
We also filed a lawsuit for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s communications with the Pentagon in the days after the January 6 incident.
Once again, it is remarkable that a private group, Judicial Watch is doing the basic oversight, investigative and educational work that Congress and the corrupted media refuse to do. And, as you can see, much more is coming.
DHS Ends Worksite Enforcement to Protect ‘Noncitizen Victims’ from Deportation
The Biden administration is dismantling our borders and the enforcement of laws that might serve to curtail in a small way the invasion of our nation. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports on the latest Biden assault on the rule of law on immigration matters:
In a major policy shift to help illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce, the Biden administration is ordering the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end mass worksite enforcement operations that often result in large-scale arrests and deportations of undocumented employees. The administration is also directing agencies that operate under DHS, which was created after 9/11 to counter terrorism, secure borders and uphold the nation’s economic security, to protect foreigners working in the country illegally by shielding them from removal proceedings when they get caught.
The administration describes them as “noncitizen victims” and it wants to “ensure” that they are not placed in immigration proceedings when the businesses that hired them are investigated. A memorandum issued this week by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to assist illegal immigrants by taking actions to promote a fair labor market and support more effective enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other employment laws and standards. “The agencies must also develop strategies for prioritizing workplace enforcement against unscrupulous employers and, through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, facilitate the participation of vulnerable workers in labor standards investigations,” according to the three-page memo.
The document, which is titled “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” instructs DHS agencies to develop plans to alleviate or mitigate the fear that victims of, and witnesses to, labor trafficking and exploitation may have regarding their cooperation with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of unscrupulous employers. “These plans should, among other things, provide for the consideration of deferred action, continued presence, parole, and other available relief for noncitizens who are witnesses to, or victims of, abusive and exploitative labor practices,” the Mayorkas order states. “In addition, these plans should provide for the assistance noncitizen victims and witnesses need to participate actively in the investigations and consider ways to ensure that noncitizen victims and witnesses generally are not placed in immigration proceedings during the pendency of an investigation or prosecution.”
Federal officials at the DHS conglomerates are also instructed to identify existing or potential policies that have an impact on the umbrella agency’s role in the enforcement of employment and labor standards. This includes ICE’s worksite enforcement strategy, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DHS and the Department of Labor (DOL) and other policies that “may impede non-citizens workers, including victims of forced labor, from asserting their workplace rights.” The DHS secretary also directs the agencies to identify measures that ensure E-Verify, the government’s system to certify that employees are authorized to work legally in the U.S, “is not manipulated to suppress unauthorized workers from, or to punish unauthorized workers for, reporting unlawful labor practices such as substandard wages, unsafe working conditions, and other forms of worker exploitation.”
Under a bold header titled “Immediate Guidance” Mayorkas orders American federal agents to “cease mass worksite operations” and consider prosecutorial discretion—the authority to decide not to enforce the law against certain people—for workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, workplace exploitation. “The deployment of mass worksite operations, sometimes resulting in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers, was not focused on the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthorized employment challenge: exploitative employers,” the DHS secretary memo states. “These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations. Moreover, such operations are inconsistent with the Department’s September 30, 2021, Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law and the individualized assessment they require. Given these concerns, please ensure we no longer conduct mass worksite operations and instead refocus our workplace enforcement efforts to better accomplish the goals outlined above.”
Targeting Trump: Durham Uncovers New Clinton, FBI Connections in Russia Probe
The coup attempt against President Trump, with its maliciously bogus accusations of a Russian conspiracy, has never been properly adjudicated, but there is a glimmer of hope. In Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, examines the recent indictment by special counsel John Durham.
The wheels of justice grind slow—much to the exasperation of, well, everybody. In April 2019, Attorney General William Barr appointed federal prosecutor John Durham to get to the bottom of the Russia mess: the sensational allegations, both before and after Donald Trump’s November 2016 presidential election victory, of Trump connections to dirty Russian money, dirty players, and dirty deeds.
Testifying before a Senate subcommittee, Barr said he wanted a review of “both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016.” Durham’s mandate: investigate the investigators—particularly the FBI. What did the FBI know about Trump’s accusers and when did they know it?
Last month, more than two years after his appointment, Durham delivered.
In a single count false-statements indictment of a middling Washington player named Michael Sussmann, Durham presented damning evidence of collusion between the Clinton presidential campaign and the FBI in a scheme to destroy Donald Trump.
Sussmann spent twelve years as cybersecurity prosecutor at the Justice Department before joining the prominent Washington law firm Perkins Coie. At the firm, Sussmann represented the Democratic National Committee in matters related to the Russian hacking of its email servers and “met and communicated regularly with the FBI” about the case, according to the indictment. At the same time, Sussmann “was also advising the Clinton campaign in connection with cybersecurity issues.”
Perkins Coie had many big clients, but in 2016 none bigger than the Clinton presidential campaign. The Sussmann indictment notes that the Clinton team hired “Law Firm-1” as counsel for the election and that “Campaign Lawyer-1” acted as the campaign’s general counsel.
Aside from Sussmann, no one is identified by name in the indictment. But so much other additional information is provided, connecting the dots is not difficult. News reports, for example, quickly identified “La Firm-1” as Perkins Coie and “Campaign Lawyer-1” as Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias.
Keep an eye on Elias’ he’ll play an important role later. And remember the context: in 2016, Trump was widely viewed as the likely loser of the election, so Perkins Coie represented a kind of administration-in-waiting for many ambitious souls.
The Clinton Connection
“Sussmann is not a small fish,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Sussmann is a big fish in a small pond of co-conspirators who were targeting Trump—including Hillary Clinton.”
The indictment alleges that Sussmann lied to the FBI—that is, lied to “the FBI General Counsel”—at the time, James Baker—in a September 19, 2019 meeting, when he delivered documents claiming to show communications between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Kremlin-connected Alfa Bank.
“During the meeting,” the indictment notes, “Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI.” Sussmann told the FBI he was not delivering the Alfa Bank report “for any client,” when in fact he was working for two very important clients: the Clinton presidential campaign and “a U.S. technology industry executive (‘Tech Executive-1’) at a U.S. Internet company.”
“Tech Executive-1” was soon revealed by media reports to be Rodney Joffe, a senior vice-president at the internet security firm Neustar. Not noted in the indictment but of interest to followers of the human comedy, Joffe was angling for a top job in the new Clinton administration.
Using Perkins Coie billing records, Durham nails the Sussman connection to Joffe, Elias, and the Clinton campaign. Sussman, the indictment states, “coordinated and communicated” about the Alfa Bank allegations “during telephone calls and meetings with Elias and Joffe, which he “billed to the Clinton campaign.”
Joffe got plenty of help in his scheme to show a Trump connection to Alfa Bank, including three computer scientists. The scientists are not named in the indictment, but later were identified in news reports.
Joffe “exploited his access to non-public data” and enlisted “the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university” who were analyzing Internet data in connection with a “pending federal government cybersecurity research contract,” the indictment notes.
In the indictment, Durham presents considerable evidence that Sussman, Joffe & Co. had little interest in the truth about Alfa Bank. The “storyline you have”—the storyline of a Trump connection to the Kremlin’s Alfa Bank — “does not make much sense,” one of the computer scientists emails Joffe. Another computer scientist emails the team, “we don’t see the money flow, and we don’t see the content of some message saying ‘send the money here.’”
But, of course, the truth was not the point. The point, the goal—the only goal—was to get the FBI to open an investigation into Trump and Alfa, and then leak the story to the media, dealing a deadly blow to the Trump campaign.
Durham quietly nails this down with another damning connection—the role of the investigative firm Fusion GPS, identified in the indictment as the “U.S. Investigative Firm.”
Aficionados of the Russia scandal will recognize Fusion GPS. It is the originator of the notorious Steele Dossier — the crazed and influential compendium of Russia-related smears against Donald Trump. The Sussmann indictment reminds us that Perkins Coie was the money behind Fusion GPS. The middleman between the investigative firm and the Clinton campaign? Marc Elias.
“Throughout the Presidential campaign,” the indictment notes, “the U.S. Investigative Firm”—that is, Fusion GPS—worked with Perkins Coie, “members of the media, and others to gather and disseminate purported evidence of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
The Perkins Coie billing records show that Sussman and Elias met with personnel from Fusion GPS about Alfa Bank. Sussmann billed the meeting to the Clinton campaign.
Sussmann and Joffe — “Tech Executive-1”— also “coordinated…with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign” on data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media, the indictment notes.
Elias, according to the indictment, speaks with Sussmann about efforts to interest the media in the story. Elias also exchanges emails about Alfa Bank with senior Clinton campaign officials. They’re not named in the indictment, but news reports identify them as campaign manager Robby Mook, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan. Sullivan currently serves as the Biden Administration’s national security adviser.
As Sussmann’s September 19 meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker approached, the scheme kicks into high gear.
For the conspirators, everything rides on September 19 meeting. It is not an encounter of strangers. Sussmann is a familiar figure to the FBI’s Baker. And as a longtime Washington hand, Baker surely knows of Perkins Coie’s role in the Clinton campaign.
Sussmann comes to the meeting prepared—very prepared.
The indictment notes that Sussmann offers to Baker “three ‘white papers’ along with data files allegedly containing evidence supporting the existence of this purported secret communications channel” between Trump and Alfa Bank.
According to the indictment, Baker seems unconcerned about Sussmann’s motives. Sussmann states he is not presenting the extensive, highly detailed material “for any client.” Baker concludes Sussmann is just “acting as a good citizen merely passing along information,” the indictment reports.
An FBI investigation commences. The news leaks. The media report that Trump is under federal investigation for connections to a suspicious Russian bank.
For Sussman, Elias, Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign: mission accomplished.
For the FBI, the charitable explanation for this seemingly colossal act of Keystone Cops stupidity—believing that “good citizen” Sussmann was merely wandering in with reams of technical documentation about a leading presidential candidate — is that Baker immediately realized that Sussmann was lying, and let him, in order to draw out more evidence of the scheme.
The more sinister explanation is that the FBI was hearing exactly what it wanted to hear. It used the Alfa Bank allegations to undermine a presidential candidate viewed with alarm by many of the bureau’s leadership.
The big question now: is this the beginning of the Durham revelations, or the end? Is Durham tying up loose ends — the statute of limitations was about to run out on the Sussmann false-statements case — or will he press on?
Certainly, there are many unanswered questions.
Most importantly: what is the degree of FBI and Justice Department culpability in triggering unethical and possibly illegal probes of Trump?
What role did Jake Sullivan — then a key Clinton campaign official and now the national security adviser to President Biden — play in the Alfa Bank affair and other efforts to tarnish Donald Trump with Russia allegations?
What role did other top officials of the Clinton campaign play in the Alfa Bank affair and other efforts to tarnish Trump?
How did cybersecurity expert Rodney Joffe and his team of computer scientists access private computer data and what else, if anything, did they do with it? Were crimes committed?
What role did Fusion GPS play in accessing private computer data and what else, if anything, did they do with it?
One clue to Durham’s intentions: following the Sussmann indictment, he hit Perkins Coie with additional subpoenas for documents. Investigators “appear to be sharpening their focus on the Democratic political machinery during the 2016 campaign and efforts to tie Trump to Russia,” CNN reported.
Until next week …