Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Judicial Watch (JW) announced on Friday that U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg denied the FBI’s second attempt to stop the release of any communications between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and Michael Sussmann, a partner at the Perkins, Coie law firm. Sussmann represented the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016.
Sussman allegedly met with Baker to share information targeting then candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Sussmann is believed to have hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC and the Clinton campaign to produce opposition research to use against Trump. Funds from the DNC and the Clinton campaign were “laundered” through Perkins, Coie by Sussmann to pay for the production of the dossier. The price tag? $12 million.
According to JW,” the court specifically rejected the FBI’s argument that it needed to protect the “privacy” of Hillary Clinton’s lawyer.” Good for them.
It usually takes several tries before JW actually receives the documents it requests and this time was no different. JW submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in October 2018. The Department of Justice did not respond. In March 2019, they filed a lawsuit to obtain the following documents:
Any and all records of communication between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and former Department of Justice attorney and current Perkins Coie Partner Michael Sussmann.
Any and all records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to any meeting between Mr. Baker and Mr. Sussmann.
Any and all calendars, agendas, or similar records, either in paper or electronic format, documenting the schedule and activities of Mr. Baker.
JW indicated that the FBI would neither confirm nor deny the existence of records and successfully argued: “[T]he sworn testimony of Baker, the former FBI general counsel, confirms that Sussmann was sharing the same documents with the media.…Rather than privacy, this confirms that Sussmann was seeking to obtain attention for his activities. Hence, this is far from a typical case…Sussmann had no expectation of ‘personal privacy,’ as he was actively seeking publicity for himself and the information he wanted to share.”
Judge Boasberg ruled, “[A]ny risk of invasion [of privacy] evaporated once Baker publicly testified that he had received documents from Sussmann, as well as met with and spoken to him on multiple occasions in 2016.”
Testifying before Congress in October 2018, Baker said, “It was like — my recollection was it was a stack of material I don’t know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something.” JW reports:
In his testimony Baker acknowledged that Sussmann’s information related to the FBI’s Trump–Russia investigation. He also testified that Sussmann had shared the same information with the media, stating that Sussmann had told him “some elements of the press had this information as well and were going to publish something about it.”
In August, another federal court judge rejected FBI efforts to protect of the privacy of Clinton spy Christopher Steele and ordered the FBI to conduct a search for certain records about Steele’s work with the FBI during the Mueller investigation.
JW President Tom Fitton noted that, “The FBI is corruptly trying to keep secret documents to protect those behind the Russiagate smears of President Trump. Two federal courts have now rejected the FBI’s desperate attempts to hide the details of its anti-Trump conspiracy with Hillary Clinton’s Fusion GPS-FBI spy operation. Why is Director Wray allowing the corrupt cover up of the FBI’s Russiagate collusions with the Clinton gang?”
Given that Christopher Wray is a Trump appointee, the extent to which he protects the FBI has always baffled me. I just noticed the connection today. Wray served as Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2005, working under (drumroll please) then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey. In 2005, Wray left the DOJ to go into private practice.
Six months into his presidency, neither Trump nor his advisors could have known the extent of the deep state.