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Defendant in Case Brought by Durham Says New Evidence Undercuts Charge

  • December 07, 2021

The newly disclosed evidence consists of partly redacted records of two of Mr. Baker’s interviews with the Justice Department. The court filing appended copies of several pages of a transcript and an interview report.

In July 2019, Mr. Baker was interviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general about the meeting. Mr. Baker stated, according to a two-page transcript excerpt, that Mr. Sussmann had brought him information “that he said related to strange interactions that some number of people that were his clients, who were, he described as I recall it, sort of cybersecurity experts, had found.”

The newly disclosed evidence also includes a page of a report Mr. Durham’s team made to summarize an interview they conducted with Mr. Baker in June 2020. According to that report, Mr. Baker did not say that Mr. Sussmann told him he was not there on behalf of any client. Rather, he said the issue never came up and he merely assumed Mr. Sussmann was not conveying the Alfa Bank data and analysis for any client.

“Baker said that Sussmann did not specify that he was representing a client regarding the matter, nor did Baker ask him if he was representing a client,” the Durham team’s report said. “Baker said it did not seem like Sussmann was representing a client.”

Mr. Baker later told Bill Priestap, then the F.B.I.’s top counterintelligence official, about the meeting. According to the indictment, Mr. Priestap’s handwritten notes list Mr. Sussmann’s name and law firm and then, after a dash, states “said not doing this for any client.” (It is not clear whether such notes would be admissible at a trial.)

The former Trump administration attorney general, William P. Barr, appointed Mr. Durham to scour the Russia investigation for evidence of wrongdoing by government officials pursuing it. The Sussmann indictment, however, portrayed the F.B.I. as a victim.

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