Durham: Sussmann Used Purported Russian Cell Phone Data to Implicate Trump

Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann shared data purported to show rare Russian-made phones being used near the Trump White House as part of an alleged scheme to tie former President Donald Trump to Russia, special counsel John Durham alleged his Friday filing.

Durham’s filing said Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid a technology company to “infiltrate” Trump Tower servers, and later the White House. The purpose of the infiltration was to establish a “narrative” of collusion between then-Republican presidential candidate Trump and Russia.

CNN reported that Sussmann, who has been charged with making a false statement to a federal agent, shared the purported data with a federal agency — which sources said was the CIA — in 2017 as part of a broader effort to raise the intelligence community’s suspicions of Trump’s ties to Russia.

Sussmann claimed the data “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations,” according to the filing, CNN reported.

The special prosecutor’s office said it found nothing to support Sussmann’s allegation.

The filing also said that the data showed a Russian phone provider connection involving the White House “during the Obama administration and years before Trump took office,” CNN reported.

A tech company executive, Rodney Joffe, and associates mined domain name system traffic associated with the Executive Office of the President and other data “for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,” the filing said. Joffe is not charged with any crime.

“Upon identifying DNS queries from Russian-made Yota phones in proximity to the Trump campaign and the [Executive Office of the President], respected cyber-security researchers were deeply concerned about the anomalies they found in the data and prepared a report of their findings, which was subsequently shared with the CIA,” a Joffe spokesperson said, CNN reported.

Defense attorneys for Sussmann said Durham had a key fact wrong.

“Although the Special Counsel implies that in Mr. Sussmann’s February 9, 2017 meeting, he provided Agency-2 with (Executive Office of the President) data from after Mr. Trump took office, the Special Counsel is well aware that the data provided to Agency-2 pertained only to the period of time before Mr. Trump took office, when Barack Obama was President,” Sussmann’s lawyers wrote, CNN said.

Sussmann was indicted in September for lying to the FBI. The five-year statute of limitations appears to have passed for Durham to accuse the lawyer of any wrongdoing related to his meeting with the CIA, CNN reported.

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