FBI agent says Sussmann’s claims about Trump’s ties to Russian bank ‘didn’t make sense’
An FBI agent told jurors on Monday that Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann’s alleged evidence linking former President Trump to Russian bank Alfa strained credibility because no effort was ever made. was done to hide what Mr. Sussmann called secret communications.
Special Agent Scott Hellman was a prosecution witness in the case of Mr. Sussmann, who is on trial for lying to the FBI.
Prosecutors say he covered up his ties to the Clinton campaign when he presented an FBI attorney with now-debunked evidence claiming covert internet communication between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
Mr. Hellman, who oversees a team of cyber investigators, investigated the allegations, which the FBI later concluded were baseless. Investigators determined that the so-called secret communications were just marketing emails.
In his testimony, Mr. Hellman told the court that the evidence compiled by Mr. Sussmann and technical director Rodney Joffe did not match. He said the domain name used by the Trump Organization bore Mr. Trump’s name, suggesting that no effort had been made to hide the communications.
Mr Hellman said it would be “abnormal” for a presidential candidate to hide his communications using a domain with his own name. He also testified that Russia was a sophisticated actor who could hide his activities on the internet and yet no effort was made to hide the contacts.
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“Based on the findings [Mr. Sussmann and Mr. Joffe] drawn that they were not fair or objective in the conclusions they reached,” he said. “The assumptions you have to make were so broad it didn’t make sense.”
Later, Mr. Hellman said his supervisor was also skeptical of the data. He told jurors that there was not enough data to draw some of the conclusions reached by Mr. Sussmann and Mr. Joffe.
“We disagreed with the narrative that came with it,” he said.
Defense attorneys for Mr. Sussmann are expected to cross-examine Mr. Hellman in the afternoon.