Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied to Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme to Co-Opt CIA and FBI to Tar Trump

by Msnbctv news staff

White Home Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Particular Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton marketing campaign scheme to make use of each the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, in line with folks accustomed to the legal probe, which they are saying has broadened right into a conspiracy case.

Biden Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton marketing campaign adviser for the 2016 election. 

AP Photograph/Ng Han Guan, File

Sullivan is going through scrutiny, sources say, over doubtlessly false statements he made about his involvement within the effort. As a senior overseas coverage adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was identified inside her marketing campaign as a “confidential undertaking” to hyperlink Trump to the Kremlin via doubtful email-server data supplied to the businesses, stated the sources, who spoke on situation of anonymity.

Final week, Michael A. Sussmann, a associate in Perkins Coie, a legislation agency representing the Hillary Clinton marketing campaign and the Democratic Nationwide Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on expenses of constructing false statements to the FBI about his purchasers and their motives behind planting the rumor, on the highest ranges of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server.

The grand jury indicated in its prolonged indictment that a number of folks have been concerned within the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and set off an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate — together with Sullivan, who was described by his marketing campaign place however not recognized by title.

The Clinton marketing campaign undertaking, these sources say, additionally concerned compiling a “digital file” on a number of Trump marketing campaign officers – together with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Web page. This effort exploited extremely delicate, nonpublic Web knowledge associated to their private e mail communications and web-browsing, often called Web Protocol, or IP, addresses.


Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Web page.


To mine the information, the Clinton marketing campaign enlisted a group of Beltway pc contractors as effectively a college researchers with safety clearance who usually collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence neighborhood. They labored from a five-page marketing campaign doc referred to as the “Trump Associates Checklist.”

The tech group additionally pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian financial institution and Trump Tower, and the marketing campaign supplied the information to the FBI on two thumb drives, together with three “white papers” that claimed the information indicated the Trump marketing campaign was secretly speaking with Moscow via a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Financial institution in Russia. Primarily based on the fabric, the FBI opened a minimum of one investigation, including to a number of others it had already initiated focusing on the Trump marketing campaign in the summertime of 2016.

Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton marketing campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on doubtful supplies supplied to the FBI and media.

The indictment states that Sussmann, in addition to the cyber specialists recruited for the operation, “coordinated with representatives and brokers of the Clinton marketing campaign with regard to the information and written supplies that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media.”

A kind of marketing campaign brokers was Sullivan, in line with emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – simply 4 days earlier than Sussmann handed off the supplies to the FBI – Marc Elias, his legislation associate and fellow Democratic Social gathering operative, “exchanged emails with the Clinton marketing campaign’s overseas coverage adviser in regards to the Russian financial institution allegations,” in addition to with different high marketing campaign officers, the indictment states.

The sources near the case confirmed the “overseas coverage adviser” referenced by title is Sullivan. They are saying he was briefed on the event of the opposition-research supplies tying Trump to Alfa Financial institution, and was conscious of the contributors within the undertaking. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which labored for the Clinton marketing campaign as a paid agent and helped collect filth on Alfa Financial institution and draft the supplies Elias mentioned with Sullivan, the supplies Sussmann would later undergo the FBI. Fusion researchers have been in common contact with each Sussmann and Elias in regards to the undertaking in the summertime and fall of 2016. Sullivan additionally personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion’s opposition analysis, in line with the sources.

Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement within the Alfa Financial institution opposition analysis. In the identical closed-door testimony earlier than the Home Intelligence Committee, he additionally denied figuring out something about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition analysis for the marketing campaign.

“Marc [Elias] … would sometimes give us updates on the opposition analysis they have been conducting, however I did not know what the character of that effort was – inside effort, outdoors effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, something like that,” Sullivan said beneath oath.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Jake Sullivan’s December 2017 Home testimony might put him in perjury jeopardy. 

Home Everlasting Choose Committee on Intelligence

Sullivan additionally testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the legislation agency the place Elias and Sussmann have been companions, was working for the Clinton marketing campaign till October 2017, when it was reported within the media as a part of tales revealing the marketing campaign’s contract with Fusion, which additionally produced the so-called Steele file. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically outstanding Elias labored for Perkins Coie, a well known Democratic legislation agency. Main media tales from 2016 routinely recognized Elias as “basic counsel for the Clinton marketing campaign” and a “associate at Perkins Coie.”

“To be sincere with you, Marc wears an incredible variety of hats, so I wasn’t certain who he was representing,” Sullivan testified. “I form of thought he was, you realize, simply speaking to us as, you realize, a fellow traveler on this — on this marketing campaign effort.”

Perkins Coie

Marc Elias: Outstanding Democrat lawyer allegedly additionally coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance beneath oath about Elias’s position.

Perkins Coie

Though he acknowledged figuring out Elias and his associate have been marshaling opposition researchers for a marketing campaign undertaking focusing on Trump, Sullivan insisted, “They didn’t do one thing with it.” In fact, they used the analysis to instigate a full-blown investigation on the FBI and seed quite a few tales within the Washington media, which Elias mentioned in emails.

Mendacity to Congress is a felony. Although the offense isn’t prosecuted, former Particular Counsel Robert Mueller received convictions of two of Trump’s associates on expenses of that very offense.

An lawyer for Sullivan didn’t reply to questions, whereas a spokeswoman for the Nationwide Safety Council declined remark. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to take part within the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Web firms and two college pc researchers, who persevered in exploiting nonpublic Web knowledge to conjure up “derogatory data on Trump” and his associates, in line with the indictment.

Prosecutors say the operation ran via a minimum of February 2017, when Sullivan met with one other central determine within the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear on the FBI. However now the objective was to compel brokers to proceed investigating the false rumors within the wake of the election, thereby preserving Trump’s presidency beneath an moral cloud.

McCain Institute/YouTube

Daniel Jones: One of many lead figures in serving to resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump’s election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the hassle.

McCain Institute/YouTube

On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their associate Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a instrument of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the assembly, which lasted about an hour and came about in a Washington workplace constructing, additionally included former Clinton marketing campaign chairman John Podesta. The group mentioned elevating cash to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition analysis undertaking headed by Jones to focus on the brand new president. In impact, Jones’ operation would substitute the Clinton marketing campaign’s operation, persevering with the hassle to undermine Trump.

It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 assembly, however he was apparently nonetheless concerned within the operation, alongside together with his crew of knowledge miners. The day earlier than the assembly attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a go to to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to hawk the disinformation in regards to the secret server – this time to high officers there, in line with the sources accustomed to Durham’s investigation. Throughout a roughly 90-minute assembly, Sussmann supplied two officers on the intelligence headquarters “up to date” paperwork and knowledge he’d supplied the FBI earlier than the election, RealClearInvestigations has discovered completely.

Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to go on supposedly contemporary leads he and the cyber researchers had discovered in regards to the Alfa Financial institution server and Trump, and the FBI appeared into the brand new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That very same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly introduced the bureau was investigating attainable “coordination” between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president’s marketing campaign.

Regardless of the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian again channel. Brokers discovered the e-mail server in query wasn’t even managed by the Trump Group. “It wasn’t true,” Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony.

It seems that the supposed “secret server” was housed within the small Pennsylvania city of Lititz, and never  Trump Tower in New York Metropolis, and it was operated by a advertising and marketing agency primarily based in Florida referred to as Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails selling a number of resort chains. Merely put, the third-party server despatched spam to Alfa Financial institution workers who used Trump motels. The financial institution had maintained a New York workplace since 2001.

“The FBI’s investigation revealed that the e-mail server at concern was not owned or operated by the Trump Group however, reasonably, had been administrated by a mass-marketing e mail firm that despatched ads for Trump motels and lots of of different purchasers,” Durham wrote in his indictment.

Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan stored selling the canard as true.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP’s Trump-Russia materials.

AP Photograph/Andrew Harnik

With assist from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group referred to as The Democracy Integrity Venture, which raised some $7 million primarily from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP employed pc researchers, in addition to Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British writer of the now-discredited Steele file, to “show” the rumors within the file. As they sought new filth on Trump, they fed their data to media retailers, main Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (specifically Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones beforehand labored on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a serious investigation of Trump and Russia, and he supplied a pipeline of knowledge for the committee, in line with the sources.

As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a each day information bulletin often called “TDIP Analysis” to outstanding Beltway journalists to maintain the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, together with the debunked rumor in regards to the “secret server.” Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify earlier than his grand jury listening to the case, together with pc specialists and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton marketing campaign undertaking, individuals near the investigation stated. Makes an attempt to achieve Jones for remark have been unsuccessful.

In a press release, Durham stated his investigation “is ongoing.”

vía AP)

Particular Counsel John Durham: Prolonged single rely “talking” indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case within the works.


Indictments for a single-count course of crime resembling making a false assertion usually run a web page or two. However Durham’s submitting charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is full of element. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to stipulate a broader conspiracy case he’s constructing that invokes a number of different federal statutes.

“That’s what we name a ‘talking indictment,’ which means it’s much more detailed than is required for a easy indictment beneath [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker stated in an interview with RealClearInvestigations.

“It’s damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for added indictments, resembling authorities grant and contract fraud, pc intrusion, the Privateness Act and different legal guidelines towards dissemination of personally identifiable data, and mail fraud and wire fraud – to not point out conspiracy to commit these offenses.”

Miller & Martin

Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment “is damning,” and “I positively see extra to come back,” says the ex-top FBI investigator.

Miller & Martin

“I positively see extra [indictments] to come back,” emphasised Swecker, who is aware of Durham personally and labored with him on prior investigations. The sources near the case stated former FBI basic counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy supplies from Sussmann and handed them on to brokers for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, together with former FBI counterintelligence chief Invoice Priestap, who has supplied prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Financial institution as a conduit between his marketing campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election.

In keeping with the sources, Durham additionally has discovered proof Sussmann misled the CIA, one other entrance within the scandal being reported right here for the primary time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the overall counsel on the company and advised her the identical story in regards to the supposed secret server – on the identical time the CIA was compiling a nationwide intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling within the election to assist Trump win.

Sussmann advised Caroline Krass, then the company’s high lawyer, that he had data which will assist her with a assessment President Obama had ordered of all intelligence associated to the election and Russia, often called the Intelligence Group Evaluation. The assessment ended up together with an annex with a number of unfounded and since-debunked allegations towards Trump developed by the Clinton marketing campaign.

It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations have been “according to the judgments on this evaluation,” included the Alfa Financial institution canard. Earlier than it was made public, a number of sections had been redacted. However after Sussmann conveyed the knowledge to Krass, an Obama appointee, she advised him she would take into account it for the intelligence assessment of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony earlier than the Home Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ title is blacked out within the declassified transcript, however sources accustomed to Sussmann’s testimony confirmed that he recognized her as his CIA contact.)


Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann additionally gave  Trump-Russia materials to this CIA lawyer.


“We’re ,” stated Krass, who left the company a number of months later. “We’re doing this assessment and I’ll communicate to somebody right here.”

It’s not identified if Sussmann failed to tell the highest CIA lawyer that he was engaged on behalf of the Clinton marketing campaign, as he’s alleged to have performed on the FBI. Makes an attempt to achieve Krass, who now serves as Biden’s high lawyer on the Pentagon, have been unsuccessful.

However in his return journey to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “said falsely – as he beforehand had said to the FBI basic counsel – that he was ‘not representing a selected shopper,’ ” in line with the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two company officers with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their assembly. (The doc refers back to the CIA by the pseudonym “Company-2.” Sources verify Company-2 is the CIA.)

Remarkably, the CIA didn’t ask for the supply of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, together with the place he acquired a number of knowledge recordsdata he gave the company. The FBI exhibited an analogous lack of curiosity when Sussmann advised it in regards to the false Trump/Alfa Financial institution connection.

Makes an attempt to achieve Sussmann to get his facet to the extra CIA allegations leveled by Durham have been unsuccessful. The 57-year-old lawyer pleaded not responsible to a single felony rely and was launched on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces as much as 5 years in jail.

The outstanding Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its web site. And late final month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse legislation agency divested its complete Political Legislation Group previously headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele file. Elias, who labored intently with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Financial institution undertaking, is also now not employed by the agency.

Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds

In late July 2016, through the Democratic Nationwide Conference in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter a couple of Clinton overseas coverage adviser who was attempting to develop allegations to “vilify” Trump. The intercepts stated Clinton herself had accepted a “plan” to “fire up a scandal” towards Trump by tying him to Putin. In keeping with hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted details about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one in all her overseas coverage advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer season, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, together with then-Senate Majority Chief Harry Reid, on the Alfa Financial institution-Trump server rumors, in line with congressional studies. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do extra to research Trump’s ties to Russia.

Throughout that conference, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network information tent within the car parking zone to a different, pitching producers and anchors a narrative that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC Information, CBS Information, and NBC Information, in addition to Chris Wallace of Fox Information, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton marketing campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan additionally gave off-camera background briefings to reporters.

“We have been on a mission,” Clinton marketing campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Publish column. “We needed to lift the alarm.”

Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written marketing campaign assertion that Trump and the Russians had arrange a “secret hotline” via Alfa Financial institution, and he recommended “federal authorities” have been investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the surprising discovery because the work of unbiased specialists — “pc scientists” — with out disclosing their attachment to the marketing campaign.

“This might be essentially the most direct hyperlink but between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed.

Clinton teed up his assertion in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which rapidly went viral. Additionally that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to reply critical questions on his ties to Russia,” whereas attaching a meme that learn: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set as much as talk privately with a Putin-tied Russian financial institution referred to as Alfa Financial institution.”


The Clinton marketing campaign performed up the bogus Trump-Alfa Financial institution story on the eve of the 2016 election.


It’s not instantly obvious if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed in regards to the Alfa Financial institution story or different Trump-Russia rumors and investigations.

Biden has by no means been questioned about his personal position within the investigation of Trump. Nevertheless, it was the previous vice chairman who launched the thought of prosecuting Trump’s nationwide safety adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, beneath the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits personal residents from interfering in U.S. overseas coverage and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anybody in trendy occasions. In keeping with notes taken by FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Workplace assembly with Obama and Biden, by which Trump, Flynn and Russia have been mentioned, Biden raised the thought: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes learn.

Though he’s not an lawyer, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, elevating suspicions he might have put the thought in Biden’s head. Sullivan had suggested the vice chairman earlier than becoming a member of the Clinton marketing campaign.

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