Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a nasty surprise on Friday when her 2016 campaign manager, Robby Mook, testified during the Michael Sussmann trial that she “agreed” to leak allegations that the Trump Organization had a secret communications channel with Russia’s Alfa Bank.
During a cross-examination by government prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis, Mook was asked whether the campaign believed the allegations against former President Donald Trump and whether they had planned to release the evidence to the media, according to National Review.
He recounted that he was first briefed about the Alfa Bank issue by campaign general counsel Marc Elias, who at the time was a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie.
Mook testified that he was informed the data came from “people that had expertise in this sort of matter.”
Robby Mook throws Perkins Coie under the bus, said he never spoke to Fusion GPS, never engaged them. Said it was Perkins Coie was overseeing them and he had nothing to do with it. #sussmanTrial @WashTimes
— Jeff Mordock (@JeffMordock) May 20, 2022
Mook claimed under oath that he was not sure of the evidence’s credibility at the time. He justified the leak to the media, claiming the purpose of it was to get a reporter to “run it down” further and “vet it out.”
The Clinton acolyte asserted that he discussed the matter with senior campaign staff and then he “discussed it with Hillary as well” and that “she agreed to” hand the evidence over to the press.
RIP Robby Mook (1979-2022) https://t.co/QoTYSMdaIv
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) May 20, 2022
The trial revolves around Michael Sussmann, who is a former partner at the Perkins Coie law firm. He allegedly lied to then-FBI general counsel James Baker in the fall of 2016 when he presented debunked evidence of Russian collusion with Trump.
Prosecutors are contending that Sussmann gave the purported evidence to Baker and tech executive Rodney Joffe. He ostensibly told Baker that he was handing over the evidence to “help the bureau.” That evidence included Domain Name System (DNS) data that allegedly showed frequent communications between servers associated with the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Baker and Sussmann had known each other for years. He testified on Wednesday that he was “100 percent confident” that Sussmann asserted he wasn’t representing a client when they met.
“Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau. Thanks,” Sussmann reportedly texted Baker the day before they met, according to National Review.
Baker claims that he would have approached the meeting and subsequent investigation differently if he had known that Sussmann was representing the Clinton campaign.
FBI agent Scott Hellman said on Tuesday he was immediately skeptical of the data and accompanying analysis. Prosecutors obtained a record of a private chat that Hellman had with his colleagues that wondered whether the source of the evidence had a “mental disability.”
Franklin Foer, who writes for Slate, was pulled into the conspiracy when opposition research firm Fusion GPS, working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, pitched the story to him and other reporters.
“We certainly hoped that he would publish an article,” former Fusion GPS employee Lauren Seago testified in court.
Foer ran with the story, publishing an article on October 31, 2016, a little over a week before Election Day.
Following the surfacing of the Trump-Alfa Bank evidence, Hillary Clinton crowed over it on Twitter. That tweet was entered into evidence on Friday.
“Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank,” she tweeted at the time.
Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. pic.twitter.com/8f8n9xMzUU
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 1, 2016
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was quoted by Clinton at the time after he remarked, “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.”
He also said the “secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
“This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign,” Sullivan’s 2016 statement added. “It raises even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
He noted that they “can only assume federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections.”
Meanwhile, Twitter users have been mockingly sending condolences to Mook:
Robby Mook done said more than he was supposed to! 😂
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) May 20, 2022
Does Robby Mook have a security detail?
— David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh) May 20, 2022
If I'm Robby Mook I'm staying far the hell away from Fort Marcy Park. https://t.co/2v0r5VZtsk
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) May 20, 2022
Getting ahead of this one now — Robby Mook did not kill himself. https://t.co/BC9PV1R4Aj
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 20, 2022
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