Former Clinton Campaign Lawyer  to Second Government Agency: Durham

John Durham speaks to reporters on the steps of U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on April 25, 2006. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

By Zachary Stieber April 16, 2022
Former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman, who is accused of lying to the FBI when he claimed he was not handing over information about then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, made false statements to CIA officers in a meeting after Trump was sworn into office, according to new filings by Special Counsel John Durham’s team.

Sussman told James Baker, at the time the FBI’s general counsel, that he had “time-sensitive (and sensitive)” information to share before the pair met, according to a text message recently disclosed by prosecutors. In the same message, Sussman claimed he was “coming on my own—not on behalf of a client or company,” even though he’d been directed to deliver the information by Rodney Joffe, a technology executive, and billed the Clinton campaign for the work, according to prosecutors.

Sussman provided Baker in a Sept. 19, 2016, meeting with white papers that alleged Trump’s business had a secret channel with a Russian bank, allegations the FBI later determined were untrue.

On Feb. 9, 2017, Sussman met with CIA officers—where he also made false statements, according to the new filings.

A memorandum introduced by the special counsel’s team and penned by a CIA official said that Sussman provided documents and thumb drives that he claimed contained data related to potential Russian activities linked with Trump.

Sussman “advised that he was not representing a particular client,” according to the notes. Instead, he said he was conveying information from “contacts” who he believed “were acting in good faith and out of a sense of loyalty to the USG,” or U.S. government.

That contradicts how Sussman told a former CIA employee, who was said to have helped set up the February meeting, that he “represents a client who does not want to be known,” according to notes of the meeting taken by the former employee.

It also contradicts testimony Sussman delivered to the House Intelligence Committee. Under oath, Sussman said (pdf) he received the information “from a client of mine.”

Sussman said he learned of the information by the summer of 2016 but only came forward months later because President Barack Obama ordered an intelligence review of possible Russian interference in elections.

“This information seemed to fall roughly within that, and so I thought that might be—or my client thought that that might be something that was relevant for those that were gathering information regarding foreign-based actors,” Sussman said.

Michael Sussman
Michael Sussman in an undated interview. (CNN/Screenshot via NTD)

Another apparently false statement relates to what Sussman said during the meeting with the CIA concerning his previous meeting with the FBI.

Sussman gave the same information regarding the alleged secret channel to the CIA that he had to Baker. Sussman told the officers he had previously contacted Baker but on a “similar, though unrelated, matter,” according to the memo.

In front of the congressional panel, Sussman said he had already passed on the information to the FBI before he met with the CIA.

“In context, the defendant’s statement that he had provided the FBI with ‘similar, though unrelated’ allegations is false, or at best, misleading,” Durham’s team said in one of the new filings.

Further, the CIA later concluded both the claim about the secret channel and a separate allegation, which was brought to the CIA and not the FBI, concerning Russian-made phones was “technically plausible,” did not “withstand technical scrutiny,” “contained gaps,” and “conflicted with [itself],” and was “user created and not machine/tool generated,” according to the special counsel’s office.

Sussman’s lawyers in a separate filing said their client’s statement to the CIA “cannot possibly be part of the charged offense (concerning a single, different statement), and it was not made contemporaneously with the charged crime,” adding, “In fact, it was made five months later, in different circumstances, to a different agency, in a way that conflicts with the Special Counsel’s theory that Mr. Sussmann lied to Mr. Baker to help Hillary Clinton win the election—because the election was long since over.”

The lawyers are not objecting to the admission of one of the statements Sussman made to the House panel concerning the CIA meeting but are objecting to the introduction of any evidence concerning the accuracy of the data he provided to the CIA.

They also reserved the right “to introduce evidence rebutting the Special Counsel’s claims, including evidence that will demonstrate that Mr. Sussmann disclosed to CIA personnel that he had a client and that he had worked with political clients.”

According to the CIA memo, Sussman did mention that his law firm was involved with Democrats, including Clinton, but also said that work was unrelated to his reasons for contacting the CIA.

From Pilate to the Internet Age, People Have Turned Their Backs on Jesus

Papal Preacher on Good Friday 2022

Homily focuses on Christ the Truth, ‘the One who does not pass.’

Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa preaches at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 15.
Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa preaches at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 15. (photo: Daniel Ibáñez / CNA)

From the time of Pontius Pilate to the internet age, people have turned their backs on Jesus, the papal preacher said at the Vatican’s Good Friday liturgy.

Capuchin Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa made the observation on April 15 as he preached at the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Pope Francis.

At the beginning of the livestreamed liturgy, the Pope entered the basilica and stood before the altar. Unlike in previous years, he was unable to lay prostrate, perhaps due to his persistent knee problems.

After the chanting of the day’s reading from St. John’s Gospel, Cardinal Cantalamessa devoted his homily to the encounter between Jesus and Pilate, the governor of the Roman province of Judaea.

He said: “What a relevant page from the Gospel for today! Even today, as in the past, man asks himself: ‘What is truth?’ But, as Pilate did, he casually turns his back on the one who said, ‘I came into the world to bear witness to the truth.’ ‘I am the Truth!’ (John 14: 6).”

“Through the internet, I have followed countless debates on religion and science and on faith and atheism. One thing struck me: hours and hours of dialogue, without ever mentioning the name of Jesus.”

“And if the believing party sometimes dared to mention his name and his resurrection from the dead, they immediately tried to close the discussion as an irrelevant digression. Everything happens etsi Christus non daretur: ‘as if in the world there had never been a man called Jesus Christ.’”

He went on: “What is the result? The word ‘God’ becomes an empty vessel for everyone to fill at will. But it is precisely for this reason that God took care to give content to his name. ‘The Word became flesh.’ Truth became flesh! Hence the staunch effort to leave Jesus out of the discourse on God; he removes from human pride any pretext for deciding himself what God should be like.”

Cardinal Cantalamessa, who was made a cardinal in 2020 in recognition of his more than 40 years as preacher of the papal household, cited a letter that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son about people who denied the existence of Jesus.

The author of The Lord of the Rings said that “it takes a fantastic will to unbelief to suppose that Jesus never really ‘happened,’ and more to suppose that he did not say the things recorded all of him.”

Pope Francis venerates the cross at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, April 15, 2022. Vatican Media.

Pope Francis venerates the cross at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, April 15, 2022. | National Catholic Register/Vatican Media

The Italian cardinal noted that today’s thinkers go “beyond Pilate’s skepticism,” arguing that the very question “What is truth?” is presumptuous, as nothing is certain.

He said: “Dear brother and sister atheists, agnostics or those still searching for truth (if there are any listening): The words I am about to address to you are not those of a poor preacher like me; they are from one of your own, one that many of you admire, of whom much is written and of whom, perhaps, many also consider themselves, in some way, disciples and followers: Søren Kierkegaard, the founder of existential philosophy.”

The 87-year-old Capuchin friar quoted the Danish author as saying that “only that man’s life is wasted” who has never intuited that there is a God.

The cardinal said: “Do not ‘waste’ your life! Do not leave this world as Pilate left the Praetorium, with the unanswered question: “What is truth?” It is too important: It is a question of knowing whether we live for something or in vain.”

After the homily, a deacon and Pope Francis read the 11 Good Friday Solemn Intercessions, which included prayers for the Jewish people, those who do not believe in God, and those suffering from war.

The adoration of the cross then took place, followed by the recitation of the Our Father and Holy Communion.

During his homily, Cardinal Cantalamessa alluded to the war in Ukraine.

“One thing of which these events have suddenly reminded us: The structures of the world can change from one day to another,” he said. “Everything passes, everything ages; everything — not only ‘the blissfulness of youth’ — wanes.”

“There is only one way to escape the current of time that drags everything with it: to pass on to that which does not pass! To put our feet on firm ground!”

He added: “Easter, Passover, means passage: Let us all aim to experience a real Easter this year, venerable fathers, brothers and sisters: Let us pass on to the One who does not pass. Let us pass on now with our heart, before passing on one day with our body.”

 “May we see, hear, proclaim that Jesus is Risen”, Pope Francis

Pope Francis attends the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, focusing his homily on how the women of the Gospel help glimpse the “first rays of the dawn of God’s life rising in the darkness of our world,” and teach us to see, hear and proclaim the Passover of the Lord from death to life.

By Thaddeus Jones

Pope Francis attended the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica, filled with 5,500 pilgrims. This celebration is the most solemn and noblest of all Solemnities.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, presided over the celebration, while Pope Francis delivered his homily and baptised seven catechumens. The Pope has suffered from knee pain in recent months, something he also mentioned when speaking to journalists recently after his pastoral journey to Malta.

Closeness to Ukraine

Present at the celebration were members of a small delegation from Ukraine, made up of representatives of the local government and the country’s parliament, whom the Pope met with just before the liturgy began.

The delegation included the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, now an exile. The Pope greeted him in particular during the celebration.

“In this darkness that you are living, Mr. Mayor, Parliamentarians, the thick darkness of war, of cruelty, we are all praying, praying with you and for you this night. We are praying for all the suffering. We can only give you our company, our prayer and say to you: “Courage! We are accompanying you!” And also to say to you the greatest thing we are celebrating today: Christòs voskrés! Christ is risen!”

Delivering his homily seated, the Pope recalled how many writers have evoked the beauty of starlit nights, whereas nights of war are marked by streams of light portending death.

From bewilderment to joy

Reflecting on this Easter night, he encouraged everyone to see the hopeful light of dawn as experienced by the women of the Gospel who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus. They show us “the first rays of the dawn of God’s life rising in the darkness of our world.”

Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica
Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica

The Pope recalled how the women who went early in the morning to annoint the body of Jesus were startled to find it empty while meeting two figures in dazzling garments telling them Jesus was risen.

“They saw, they heard, they proclaimed” – three aspects of their experience we also can gain from when remembering the Lord’s passover from death to life.

The women saw

The first news of the resurrection marked “a sign to be contemplated,” the Pope observed, as it totally overturned expectations and came as an amazing and surprising hope.

Sometimes radically good news many not “find a place in our hearts,” the Pope added, and like the women in the Gospel we can initially react with doubts and especially fear, as the Gospel narrative describes their reaction.

Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica
Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica

We can sometimes keep looking at life and reality with a downcast persepctive, the Pope went on to say, and even write off the future, believe things will never change or improve, burying “the joy of living.”

Yet, the Easter hope we proclaim today is a call by the Lord to see life with different eyes, and make the jump to really believing that “fear, pain and death will not have the last word over us.”

While death can fill us with fear and sadness, he said, we must remember that “the Lord is risen!”

“Let us lift up our gaze, remove the veil of sadness and sorrow from our eyes, and open our hearts to the hope that God brings!”

The women heard

Recalling the two men in dazzling garments who spoke to women, saying “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen,” the Pope said we do well to hear and repeat their words “He is not here!”

This response can be for us too when we think we have understood everything about God and allow our own ideas and perspectives to contain Him, or we only seek the Lord in times of need and forget Him the rest of our daily lives, or when we neglect the Lord present in our brothers and sister who need our help.

Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica
Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica

The Pope added that we need to break free of moribund ways of thinking and behaving, where we can become prisoners of the past, lacking courage to to let ourselves be forgiven by God, to opt in favour for Jesus and his love.

We need to accept and encounter the living God who desires to change us and to change our world.

“What is happening?

Homily of St. John Chrysostom
Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

 

Truly He goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; He wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, He who is God, and Adam’s son.

 

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, His cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees Him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping His hand He raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

 

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your Son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

 

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of My hands, arise, you who were fashioned in My image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in Me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

 

‘For you, I your God became your Son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.
‘Look at the spittle on My face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to My own image.

 

‘See the scourging of My back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See My hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

 

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; My sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; My sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

 

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

 

“The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.”