Handwritten Notes From 2017 Show FBI Agents Mislead DOJ On The Trump-Russia Investigation

Handwritten Notes From 2017 Show FBI Agents Mislead DOJ On The Trump-Russia Investigation

Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is currently on trial for lying to the FBI about his role in pushing data pertaining to alleged communications between Trump and the Russian Alfa Bank. According to Special Counsel John Durham, Sussmann lied when he brought that data to the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker as part of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to trigger an FBI investigation of her opponent, Donald Trump. Specifically, Sussmann allegedly wrote Baker a text message claiming he was not representing anyone in providing the information when, in fact, he was representing the Clinton campaign.

In a surprising move, Sussmann’s defense team last week disclosed three sets of handwritten Department of Justice (DOJ) notes of a March 6, 2017 meeting between high-ranking DOJ and FBI officials. Durham gave the notes written by DOJ officials Tashina Gauhar, Mary McCord, and Scott Schools to Sussmann’s team as part of Durham’s discovery obligations.

While the notes contain a one-line hearsay suggestion that may cast doubt on Sussmann’s earlier claim that he was not representing anyone, their broader significance lies in what they reveal about the FBI’s strategy in the months leading up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.

In fact, the notes are the very first documents to have been released to the public that show what the FBI was telling the DOJ about the predication and status of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation only two weeks before FBI Director James Comey’s shock announcement to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017, that the Trump campaign was being investigated by the FBI for ties to the Kremlin. It was Comey’s announcement that ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller.

The DOJ had a legal responsibility to supervise the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which, as a “sensitive matter,” placed special oversight and due diligence obligations on the DOJ and additional reporting and due diligence obligations on the FBI. The March 6 meeting was a key milestone in those due diligence obligations.

The FBI was represented at the meeting by three of its top officials: Deputy Director Andy McCabe, Counterintelligence Executive Assistant Director Bill Priestap, and Counterintelligence Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. The DOJ was also represented by top-level officials, led by Acting Attorney General Dana Boente. Boente was taking the place of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself only four days previously.

The notes reveal a pattern of repeated lies and omissions by FBI leadership to DOJ officials that concealed the dramatic deterioration of the predicate for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. As the predication deteriorated, so too was the purported justification for Comey’s public reveal of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

The significance of the FBI’s lies was accentuated this week at Sussmann’s trial when Scott Hellman, an FBI cyber analyst, testified that he knew right away in September 2016 that Sussmann’s data did not suggest any covert communications between Trump and Russia. Hellman added that he wondered if the person who put together the data was suffering from a mental disability.

Hellman’s testimony is the clearest evidence yet that the FBI knew from the start that one of the two major components of the Trump Russia collusion narrative – the Alfa Bank data – was false. As the March 6 notes show, they concealed this fact from their DOJ superiors.

The other major component of the investigation was the Steele dossier. The FBI knew from a January 2017 interview of Igor Danchenko, Christopher Steele’s “Primary Sub-Source” through whom all the allegations in the Steele dossier were originated or channeled, that the dossier too was false.

Danchenko’s most shocking revelation to the FBI was that he had never met Sergei Millian, the attributed source for the Steele dossier’s most inflammatory claims, including the allegation that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Trump and the Kremlin, that Russia passed hacked Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks, as well as the infamous Moscow pee tape story.

Danchenko, although a Russian national, was not “Russian-based,” as the FBI was claiming, but had lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade, including at the Brookings Institute. Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institute stalwart, was a key supporter of Danchenko’s and had even introduced him to Steele in 2011. In 2016, Hill introduced Danchenko to former Hillary Clinton aide Charles Dolan. Danchenko would later use Dolan as a source for a number of his dossier claims.

Beyond the fact that Millian could not have been a source for the dossier, the FBI also learned from Danchenko that the dossier stories were based on bar talk and innuendo (Danchenko has since been charged by Durham with lying to the FBI about his sources).

The FBI appears to have concealed these matters from the DOJ. In fact, it does not appear from the March 6 notes that the FBI ever mentioned Danchenko. Despite Danchenko’s disavowal of the dossier as of March 6, it remained as the main component of the overall Crossfire Hurricane investigation, including being the basis of two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The March 6 notes also reveal that FBI leadership told DOJ officials that the Page FISA application had been “fruitful” even though it had turned up nothing of significance. Page was never charged with, or even accused of, any offense and is now suing the DOJ for damages.

FBI leadership also pushed the narrative on their DOJ counterparts that the dossier was “CROWN reporting,” implying that the dossier was an official United Kingdom intelligence product when it was actually made-up stories and gossip and paid for by the Clinton campaign – a fact the FBI knew from their Danchenko interview.

The notes cite “CROWN reporting” in connection with collusion allegations on at least two occasions. In Strzok’s exposition of the status of Page’s case, the notes indicate that Strzok referred to “Crown source reporting” as a key element in the Page FISA warrant. This was already known from unredacted portions of the FISA applications that were publicly disclosed in 2020. However, what was not known was that the FBI also lied internally about these facts to their DOJ supervisors.

Similarly, the March 6 notes indicate that, in connection with the status of the Manafort case, Strzok had reported that, based on “CROWN reporting,” the FBI had “looked at [the Republican] convention” and allegations that the Trump campaign had caused the convention to “soften stance on Crimea and NATO” in exchange for “Russian energy stocks.”

In fact, there is no reference to allegations about Crimea or NATO in Steele’s dossier. Strzok attributed these false accusations to “CROWN reporting,” presumably to lend weight to them with his DOJ superiors.

With respect to “Russian energy stocks,” the dossier includes a false reference to Page receiving a brokerage fee for the sale of a Russian energy company but this allegation is not related to the convention but to the lifting of sanctions. Again, Strzok falsely portrayed this as having something to do with the Republican Party’s convention.

Additionally, the notes show that lead agent Strzok also lied to DOJ officials about the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Strzok claimed the investigation was triggered by Trump when he jokingly asked Russia to publish Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails. It was Trump’s joke which, according to Strzok, caused the Australian diplomat to provide his tip about Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the U.S. embassy in London.

In truth, the diplomat provided his tip before Trump made the joke. Another fact that the FBI concealed in respect of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane was that their theory that Papadopoulos had advanced knowledge of the DNC hack was logically impossible. When Papadopoulos met the Australian diplomat on May 10, 2016, most of the hacked DNC emails hadn’t even been written yet.

Ironically, in analyzing why the FBI leadership felt compelled to brazenly lie to their DOJ counterparts, it appears that their hand was forced by Trump himself. Just two days before the FBI-DOJ meeting, on March 4, 2017, Trump tweeted he had found out that President Obama had wiretapped Trump at Trump Tower. Trump’s tweet was in an apparent reference to radio host Mark Levin, who reported on his show on March 2 that Trump campaign aides had been the subject of FISA warrants.

In a number of instances, the March 6 meeting notes reflect the FBI leadership’s befuddlement as to how much Trump knew about the FBI’s investigation of him. McCabe is cited repeatedly as having said that the FBI was investigating what was behind Trump’s tweet.

In reality, Trump’s tweet probably just restated what Levin had said. But the fact that the FBI did not know how much Trump knew meant FBI leadership had a choice to make. They could either downplay the investigation with a view to wrapping it up or they could double down even though they had not found any incriminating evidence.

They chose to double down, with Comey going on offense in the immediate aftermath of the March 6 meeting. Aside from giving narrative-shaping briefings to congressional leaders, Comey publicly disclosed the existence of the Trump Russia investigation, ensuring a media frenzy. That frenzy ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller on May 17, 2017.

While we have become accustomed to false statements charges being filed against Trump associates such as Roger Stone, Papadopoulos, and Michael Flynn, those same charges are also applicable to false statements or concealment of material facts by FBI officials to DOJ officials in the conduct of their supervision of FBI investigations.

It is perplexing that no one within the FBI has been held accountable for the many lies told at the March 6 meeting. This fact is all the more perplexing as it was Durham who originally turned over the March 6 notes to Sussmann’s defense team.

Former Attorney General William Barr had earlier turned down the opportunity to charge McCabe with lying during an internal FBI investigation of a leak related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation. McCabe had authorized the leak but lied about it. McCabe later apologized for lying to agents who were investigating the leak.

While Barr claimed it was a judgment call not to prosecute McCabe, his lies must now properly be seen in light of the FBI’s and his own pattern of lies, as documented in the March 6 notes. While the notes were only publicly released last week, they have been available to Barr, Durham and the DOJ for much longer. Yet no action was taken.

Crucially, public release of the notes came after the five-year statute of limitations had lapsed in March of this year. The question is why the DOJ — and Durham in particular — gave the FBI a free pass. The uncomfortable answer may be that, as has been suspected for a while, Durham’s authority is effectively limited to private actors such as Sussmann and Danchenko and does not extend to public officials such as McCabe and Strzok.


Hans Mahncke is in-house counsel at a global business advisory firm. He holds LL.B., LL.M. and Ph.D. degrees in law. He is the author of numerous law books and his research has been published in a range of international journals. Stephen McIntyre is a semi-retired mining consultant specializing in statistical analysis. He holds a B.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto and a PPE degree from Oxford. Steve is known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit, a website devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data.

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Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann’s Latest Defense Strategy: Litigate Trump-Russia Collusion Lies

Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann’s Latest Defense Strategy: Litigate Trump-Russia Collusion Lies

With trial set to begin in just over a week in a Washington D.C. federal court in the criminal case against Michael Sussmann, the former Clinton campaign attorney has revealed his defense strategy: put Donald Trump on trial for colluding with Russia.

Given the heavily slanted anti-Trump jury pool living in the district, it is no surprise that Sussmann’s defense team would seek to play on the Orange-Man-Bad sentiments likely living loudly in the eventual jurors. But a court filing from late yesterday reveals that Sussmann’s lawyers hope to make Trump and his supposed Russia affiliations a focus of the trial.

On Thursday, Sussmann and Special Counsel John Durham’s legal teams filed their respective objections to each other’s proposed trial exhibits. The Special Counsel’s office objected to three categories of exhibits Sussmann appears poised to present to the jury, including: (1) emails related to Sussmann’s work on cyber issues for the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign; (2) notes taken by an FBI agent concerning his investigation of the Alfa Bank allegations and notes taken during a March 6, 2017 briefing by the FBI for the Department of Justice on various Trump-related investigations; and (3) a series of more than twenty news articles about Trump and Russia, which prosecutors listed in a table for the court.

The Special Counsel acknowledged there may be some relevance to the first two categories of trial exhibits, but prosecutors argued that Sussmann must nonetheless establish the documents do not constitute inadmissible hearsay. The third category of supposed evidence in the form of news articles, however, has “no evidentiary or factual basis,” according to Durham’s team.

Those articles, the Special Counsel noted in its court filing, “appear to relate to (i) the DNC hack, and/or (ii) Donald Trump’s purported illicit ties to Russia.”

“News articles regarding such matters are not themselves probative of the charged conduct in any way,” Durham explained. And “permitting the defense to admit the above-listed series of news articles would amount to the ultimate ‘mini-trial’ – of the very sort that will distract and confuse the jury without offering probative evidence,” the Special Counsel stressed in objecting to the admission of the twenty-some articles that date from May 14, 2016, to August 15, 2016.

The Special Counsel did not specify what that “mini-trial” would consist of, but a quick skim of the article titles makes clear Sussmann’s goal is to put Trump on trial for colluding with Russia.

From the first article, “Election 2016: Trump Goes His Own Way with Putin—Warm words and push to improve ties with Moscow aren’t shared by Obama, GOP rivals“, and onward, the media coverage Sussmann seeks to present to the jury consists of a tour de force of the press pushing the Russia collusion hoax. And as with the Alfa Bank hoax that Sussmann and Fusion GPS peddled to the press, much of the coverage Sussmann seeks to rely upon seems to find its roots in efforts by the Clinton campaign to seed the Trump-Russia story with friendly media.

For instance, The Time’s article Sussmann seeks to admit as evidence, entitled, “Donald Trump’s Man, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia,” quotes Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. Mook, of course, launched the entire Russia-collusion hoax live on CNN on the convention floor to distract from news that the DNC had worked to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

Time Magazine’s coverage also relied on reporting by the Slate’s Franklin Foer. Emails since made public reveal Foer worked hand-in-glove with Fusion GPS to frame Trump as a Russian operative, with Foer eventually “breaking” the Alfa Bank story shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

The Washington Post’s similarly titled article, “Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia,” pushed another pre-election conspiracy theory, implying that the Trump-connected Felix Sater was Russian mafia. To the contrary, since unsealed documents show Sater served as a vital asset to our intelligence community.

Sussmann nonetheless seeks to admit these and other articles at his trial, and his legal team will surely argue they are admissible because they will establish his concern over the Alfa Bank data and whitepapers was genuine. But, as Durham argues, the articles should nonetheless be excluded because of the “unfair prejudice” that will result.

“Unfair prejudice,” as the Special Counsel notes, results if there is “an undue tendency to suggest [making a] decision on an improper basis, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one.” Said otherwise, “evidence is unfairly prejudicial ‘if it appeals to the jury’s sympathies, arouses its sense of horror, provokes its instinct to punish, or otherwise may cause a jury to base its decision on something other than the established propositions in the case.”

Or, divorced from its legalese, prosecutors are complaining that Sussmann seeks to present to the jury “evidence” that Trump colluded with Russia so jurors will let Sussmann off scot-free. That the Clinton campaign pushed much of that other Russia-collusion coverage matters not to Sussmann because he knows it will be equally irrelevant to an anti-Trump jury.

But it should matter to the judge because Trump is not on trial and the visceral hatred of Trump and Putin — especially now with Russia’s war in Ukraine — make the articles framing Trump as a Russian stooge unfairly prejudicial to the prosecution.

So, watch for the court to exclude those exhibits, while allowing Sussmann to nonetheless argue he approached the FBI out of a genuine concern for our national security. And don’t be surprised if the D.C. jury buys it.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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5 Key Takeaways From Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann’s Latest Attempt To Get Criminal Charges Dismissed

5 Key Takeaways From Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann’s Latest Attempt To Get Criminal Charges Dismissed

Thursday morning a federal judge heard arguments on former Clinton Campaign attorney Michael Sussmann’s motion to dismiss the Special Counsel’s criminal case against him. Then, after taking the motion under advisement, presiding Judge Christopher Cooper considered a variety of housekeeping matters. Here’s what we learned from Thursday’s hour-long proceedings.

1. Sussmann Is Likely to Lose His Motion and Face a Jury

Thursday’s hearing began shortly after 10:00, with Judge Cooper, a Barack Obama appointee, first considering Sussmann’s motion to dismiss the criminal indictment returned in September of last year. That indictment charged the former Clinton Campaign attorney with making false statements to the FBI General Counsel James Baker on September 19, 2016, when Sussmann provide Baker with “white papers” and data ostensibly showing a secret communications channel existed between the Trump organization and the Russia-connected Alfa Bank.

According to the one-count indictment, when Sussmann met with Baker, Sussmann falsely claimed he was not acting on behalf of a client. In fact, though, the indictment charged that at the time Sussmann was working both for the Clinton Campaign and an unnamed “U.S. technology industry executive,” since identified as Rodney Joffe. That lie, according to the indictment, constituted a false statement violative of Section 1001 of the federal criminal code

Thursday’s hearing opened with Sussmann’s attorney, Michael Bosworth from the law firm of Latham & Watkins, reiterating to the court many of the arguments Sussmann’s legal team had presented to the court in the Motion to Dismiss it filed in February. In that motion, Sussmann’s attorneys argue that even if Sussmann had lied to Baker — a fact Sussmann disputes — the lie was not “material.” And since Section 1001 criminalizes only “a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation,” Sussmann’s legal team argued that he committed no crime.

Over the course of the hour-long hearing, Sussmann’s attorney argued that his client’s alleged lie was immaterial from a variety of angles. With every argument for dismissal presented, however, Judge Cooper challenged Bosworth, and at one point, Sussmann’s attorney even acknowledge that he would move on as the court seemed to see his argument “not that persuasive.”

While Judge Cooper likewise peppered Special Counsel Durham’s lead prosecutor, Andrew DeFilippis, with questions on the issue of materiality, the court’s queries strongly suggested Sussmann’s attempt to have the criminal charge tossed will fail. And from a legal perspective, as I explained following the briefing, it should fail.

The court, however, did not rule from the bench but instead took the motion under advisement, telling the parties who were participating remotely that he would issue a decision “sooner rather than later,” which likely means an order will issue by early next week.

2. The Crossfire Hurricane Team Was Inept

Although Thursday’s substantive hearing focused solely on Sussmann’s Motion to Dismiss, the arguments presented revealed several interesting tidbits. For instance, both parties agreed that Baker’s testimony would be that he did not ask Sussmann if he was representing a client; rather, Sussmann volunteered to the FBI General Counsel that he was not there on behalf of any client.

The more intriguing revelation, though, comes from what else the FBI did not ask Sussmann. According to Bosworth, at no point did the FBI ask Sussmann where the data and white papers came from. Bosworth stressed this point to argue that the Special Counsel’s claim that the lie was material was “nonsensical.”

In arguing the lie was material, the Special Counsel’s office had noted that it intended to call a government witness who would testify that the “first thing you ask is where was the data from.” In his rebuttal argument, Bosworth stressed that the government’s claim that the FBI would have asked where the data came had Sussmann not lied is “nonsensical” because “at no point” did anyone involved in the investigation ask Sussmann where he got the data from that he presented to Baker.

Initially, this argument cuts against Sussmann’s position because, as the government pointed out, Sussmann’s lie “lulled” the FBI into believing the data came from a legitimate disinterested source when it did not. But the bigger takeaway from this exchange is that the Crossfire Hurricane team was so inept, biased, or blind that it didn’t ask that very basic question: Where did this data showing a Trump-Russia secret communication channel come from?

That the Crossfire Hurricane team failed in this basic respect, however, does not help Sussmann, because in determining if a lie is material, the focus is on a hypothetical “objective” government official and not on how any one individual would have acted had they known the truth.

More significantly, though, this exchange shows that the Special Counsel’s team will present government witnesses who will establish that, yes, a reasonable, objective FBI agent’s first step would be to determine the data source — proving Comey’s team was anything but reasonable or objective.

3. Jury Instructions Will Be Key

The oral argument also revealed just how significant jury instructions will be to whether Sussmann is convicted.

Throughout the argument, Bosworth stressed the defense’s position that for a lie to be “material” it must have a sufficient nexus to the subject of the investigation, rather than be ancillary to the investigation. Further, the purported false statement must be something “that is more than trivial” and “more than negligible.”

Bosworth initially argued that the alleged lie in this case could not pass these standards, as a matter of law. “As a matter of law” means that it is a question for the judge to decide, as opposed to a jury, and Bosworth argued that in this case, the court should dismiss the case.

However, Sussmann’s attorney then noted that if it is a jury question, the jury must be “properly instructed” that the lie must be something “more than trivial” — “it must matter.” And it is important that the jury be instructed the lie cannot be about an “ancillary” or “non-determinative fact,” Bosworth added, before noting that “we will fight this at the jury instruction stage.”

This preview provides an interesting insight into the future of this case, with the parties likely jockeying over the precise explanation of “materiality” the jury will receive. If Sussmann succeeds in having the jury instructed that the lie must be “more than trivial” and that it cannot be “ancillary” to the criminal case, Sussmann’s chances of acquittal will increase substantially because a talented trial attorney can convey the impression that something material is trivial. But the jury instruction battle is still several motions away.

4. A Flurry of Motions In the Works

While the jury instruction fight will not happen for some time, there are several other disputes likely to monopolize the court’s time in the interim, as revealed after the court moved on to the “status conference” portion of the hearing.

After announcing his intent to take the case under advisement, Judge Cooper noted (using the applicable jargon) he had a few issues of discovery related to classified material to resolve and then asked if there were any issues. At this point, Sussmann’s attorney noted it would be filing various motions, including one related to what is called rule 404(b) evidence.

Rule 404(b) evidence is “character evidence” or evidence showing the defendant engaged in other crimes or wrongful acts. The government notified Sussmann’s legal team of its intent to admit at least two separate pieces of Rule 404(b) evidence and Bosworth noted that the defense would be filing a motion to exclude that evidence. There was no discussion, however, as to the content of that evidence.

Sussmann next raised a concern over the government’s disclosure of an expert witness it intended to call in support of its case against Sussmann. Bosworth argued that the government’s notice of its intent to present expert testimony was untimely because with a mere six weeks until trial, it does not provide Sussmann time to find an expert to counter the prosecution’s expert.

A discussion then followed on the intended scope of the expert testimony, with DeFilippis explaining that it intended merely to provide background or a “tutorial” about DNS data, but that if Sussmann attempted to argue that the Alfa Bank data was accurate, that the government would use its expert to counter that point. Sussmann’s legal team objected to the use of the expert to challenge the Alfa Bank data and noted that it would be filing a motion soon if they could not reach an agreement.

Finally, Bosworth raised with the court a complaint over the Special Counsel’s intent to try to pierce attorney-client privilege being asserted by Hillary for America, the DNC, and Fusion and to present evidence obtained from those third parties at trial against Sussmann. A challenge at this late date, Sussmann’s lawyer argued “would be wildly untimely” and now, with only six weeks before trial, implicates Sussmann’s due process rights. “In our view,” Bosworth continued,” it is “an ambush” and could potentially change the entire parameter of the case.

DeFilippis noted in response that the Special Counsel’s office has been working with the “privilege holders,” meaning the clients, naming them as Joffe, the Clinton Campaign, and “another political organization,” and has been busy hashing out the issue of privilege. But, a motion will need to be presented, DeFilippis added, providing for purposes of illustration that the Clinton Campaign is claiming privilege over communications with Joffe that they are not even copied on. Sussmann’s legal team again objected to the lateness of the hour to resolve these questions—something his attorneys will surely argue when the motion is forthcoming.

The judge then directed the parties to discuss a schedule for briefing these three motions and adjourned the hearing.

5. The Case Will Not Be Over Anytime Soon

After this morning’s hearing, one final point is clear: This case will not be over soon unless Sussmann is acquitted.

Soon after he was indicted, Sussmann insisted on a speedy trial, and one is set to start with jury selection on May 16, 2022. If the jury acquits the former Clinton campaign attorney, the case will be over then.

But if a jury convicts Sussmann, he has already previewed several arguments for an appeal, including his claim that his purported lie is immaterial as a matter of law. If he loses, he will also likely challenge any refusal by the court to provide his desired jury instructions. Then he has the “due process” arguments he floated Thursday based on the lateness of the hour to pierce the attorney-client privilege of third parties, such as Joffe and the Clinton Campaign.

Given Bosworth’s near-flawless execution during Thursday’s argument, even when holding a losing argument, it seems clear that even if Sussmann is guilty, convicting him is not going to be an easy task, and obtaining a conviction that withstands appeal will be even more difficult.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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Defendant Accused of Kidnapping, Murdering Dallas 4-year-Old Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

Defendant Accused of Kidnapping, Murdering Dallas 4-year-Old Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

A Texas judge has found Darriynn Brown, 19, the man accused of kidnapping four-year-old Dallas boy Cash Gernon and stabbing him to death last May, incompetent to stand trial.

Dallas County Magistrate Judge Farrel Chapman’s decision Friday came after doctors for both the defense and the prosecution deemed Brown incompetent, the Dallas Morning News reports. Chapman ordered that Brown receive treatment at the North Texas State Hospital System.

If Brown, charged with capital murder, regains competency, he would stand trial for his alleged crimes. Heath Harris, Brown’s attorney, asserts that his client is schizophrenic and suffers from additional mental disorders.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

In Texas, defendants must be able to understand court proceedings and help with their own defense. Competency to stand trial is different from sanity at the time of the crime, although Brown’s lawyer is mounting an insanity defense. An insanity defense means that attorneys admit their clients committed a crime but did not know right from wrong at the time.

On May 15 of last year, Gernon was discovered dead in the 7500 block of Saddleridge Drive in Dallas. The location of the four-year-old’s body was roughly eight blocks from where he and his twin brother were staying with Monica Sherrod in the Mountain Creek neighborhood, according to the Dallas Morning News:

Surveillance video from Cash’s bedroom showed a man standing over him and his twin brother as they slept about 5 a.m., then picking up Cash and walking out of the room. The man returned about 7:30 a.m. and lifted the blanket covering the other boy but left empty-handed after walking around the room.

Monica Sherrod reported Cash missing about five hours after he was taken from the home and identified the man in the footage as Brown, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit. Sherrod had dated the twins’ father and was caring for them at her family’s home on Florina Parkway.

Hours later, Brown was arrested.

Authorities assert that after Brown snatched the boy from his bed and took him to a trail in the area where he stabbed the four-year-old to death with an unknown object. They further allege that he subsequently placed Gernon’s body in the middle of Saddleridge Drive, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Authorities say that Sherrod and her teenage son both knew the defendant.

The defense argues that Brown was in a trance when he allegedly carried out the crimes, KDFW reports.

He was first charged with kidnapping and theft in connection to the killing of Gernon, according to WFAA, but after his sweatshirt, socks, and sunglasses tested positive for the child’s blood, he was charged with capital murder on June 9.

Gernon’s twin is now in the care of his mother, who police say was looking for her him, the Dallas Morning News reports. Trevor Gernon, the twins’ father, reportedly missed a court appearance in Harris County in March and left the twins in Sherrod’s care at her family home. He was placed into a residential rehab program following an arrest in June.

Police filed additional charges, including burglary and injury charges against Brown, regarding a prior alleged incident at another Florina Parkway home that occurred on February 8, 2021, per the Dallas Morning News.

CBS 11 reported:

According to the affidavit for the burglary charge, Brown entered a man’s home and started going through all the rooms and closets. Picking up a kitchen knife, the man demanded that he leave. The homeowner managed to get Brown out of his home, but he came back and started kicking and damaging an interior door between the garage and home. The homeowner opened the door and Brown reentered, punching the man in the forehead, according to the affidavit.

It was then that Brown allegedly walked into the living room where the man’s 2-year-old granddaughter was sleeping. He grabbed her and started carrying her toward the laundry room at the back of the house near the garage door. Her grandfather demanded Brown let her go, but he continued with the child toward the door. Fearing Brown would take the child from his home, the man physically removed her from his grasp, according to the affidavit. The grandfather put the girl back on the couch then confronted Brown in the kitchen. Brown allegedly punched the man in the face then fled out the back door.

“The grandfather then placed the girl back on the couch and confronted the suspect in the kitchen. Brown allegedly hit the man in his face, then exited through the back door,” Breitbart News reported.

The homeowner did not press charges at the time, but on May 18 when Child Abuse Detectives spoke with him regarding the February incident, he wanted to press charges against Brown.

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Left-Wing Students Demand Arizona State University Kick Kyle Rittenhouse Off Campus

Left-Wing Students Demand Arizona State University Kick Kyle Rittenhouse Off Campus

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the shootings that left two dead and a third injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year amid the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots, but those facts are irrelevant to left-wing students who want him banned from Arizona State University campus where he is enrolled.  

Led by Students for Socialism, four groups plan to rally Wednesday for Rittenhouse’s removal. The 18-year-old enrolled for classes in October and plans to continue his studies in nursing upon a jury finding him not guilty. He was accused of first-degree reckless homicide, two charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree intentional homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

“Even with a not-guilty verdict from a flawed ‘justice’ system — Kyle Rittenhouse is still guilty to his victims and the families of those victims,” a flyer tweeted by Students for Socialism states. “Join us to demand from ASU that these demands be met to protect students from a violent, blood-thirsty murderer.”

The flyer lists several demands for the university. The groups call for ASU to withdraw Rittenhouse, “release a statement against white supremacy & racist murderer Kyle Rittenhouse,” “reaffirm support for the multicultural center on campus as a safe space from white supremacy,” and defund the university’s police department.

The final demand from the students is to move funding from the police department to establish a CAARE Healing Center on campus. CAARE champions equity and is a nonprofit that gives health services to uninsured, at-risk, and “under-insured” people. Other groups backing the effort include Students for Justice in Palestine, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition, and the Mexican American student organization on campus, MEChA de ASU. 

While the left-wing groups neglect Rittenhouse’s acquittal, they seemingly also neglect the his political leanings. It is unclear whether Rittenhouse is a Democrat or Republican, but in a recent interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, he said he supports the culturally-Marxist BLM movement. Still, his statements do not seem to matter to the organizations. Rittenhouse has been framed as a “white supremacist” conservative.

Ryne Bolick, a member of the executive board in ASU’s College Republicans club, told The Federalist he thinks the left-wing groups’ calls to get Rittenhouse kicked off-campus are “absurd.”

“We obviously recognize their First Amendment rights to protest but that doesn’t mean we can’t think they’re kind of absurd in their calls to get Rittenhouse kicked off-campus. And it’s not like he’s trying to be some political asset. After all, he’s literally trying to get his nursing degree,” Bolick said. “He was acquitted on all charges. So, he’s an innocent student. And they’re trying to kick him off campus.”

A spokesman for ASU’s Students for Socialism told Fox News that “the court[s] [verdict] is one of the thousands of cases that have been influenced by biased judges, predominantly white juries, and mistakes inherent in a judicial system founded off of injustice to begin with.”

Rittenhouse said his self-defense actions “had nothing to do with race.” Key witnesses described in their testimonies that one of the individuals who was shot — Joseph Rosenbaum — reached for his gun and threatened to kill Rittenhouse.

Prior to being acquitted, high-level Democrats took to defaming Rittenhouse. President Joe Biden referred to him as a “white supremacist” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid compared the case to the lynching of a black man. MSNBC host Tiffany Cross said after the trial that the verdict was “disgusting” due to a “little murderous white supremacist” being acquitted for a crime he did not commit.

“The jury reached the correct verdict,” Rittenhouse said after the trial. “Self-defense is not illegal. And I believe they came to the correct verdict and I’m glad that everything went well.”

Bolick, a sophomore, also said he thinks the corporate media’s portrayal of Rittenhouse has led to the narrative blaming, as well as the radical reaction from uninformed students.

“They made it seem like he was going out of his way looking for trouble,” said Bolick. “But when you actually listen to the trial, he was going there because he had family friends that were in the car lot. So he went with a fire extinguisher to put out fires. He was cleaning up graffiti and the gun was purely there to just protect himself. So when you look at the initial media coverage, he was definitely portrayed in a way to make him look like a villain — but that was not the case whatsoever.”

It remains to be seen whether ASU’s administration will stand by the innocent student it admitted for credit. The university could not immediately be reached for comment.

Source

Left-Wing Students Demand Arizona State University Kick Kyle Rittenhouse Off Campus

Left-Wing Students Demand Arizona State University Kick Kyle Rittenhouse Off Campus

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the shootings that left two dead and a third injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year amid the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots, but those facts are irrelevant to left-wing students who want him banned from Arizona State University campus where he is enrolled.  

Led by Students for Socialism, four groups plan to rally Wednesday for Rittenhouse’s removal. The 18-year-old enrolled for classes in October and plans to continue his studies in nursing upon a jury finding him not guilty. He was accused of first-degree reckless homicide, two charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree intentional homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

“Even with a not-guilty verdict from a flawed ‘justice’ system — Kyle Rittenhouse is still guilty to his victims and the families of those victims,” a flyer tweeted by Students for Socialism states. “Join us to demand from ASU that these demands be met to protect students from a violent, blood-thirsty murderer.”

The flyer lists several demands for the university. The groups call for ASU to withdraw Rittenhouse, “release a statement against white supremacy & racist murderer Kyle Rittenhouse,” “reaffirm support for the multicultural center on campus as a safe space from white supremacy,” and defund the university’s police department.

The final demand from the students is to move funding from the police department to establish a CAARE Healing Center on campus. CAARE champions equity and is a nonprofit that gives health services to uninsured, at-risk, and “under-insured” people. Other groups backing the effort include Students for Justice in Palestine, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition, and the Mexican American student organization on campus, MEChA de ASU. 

While the left-wing groups neglect Rittenhouse’s acquittal, they seemingly also neglect the his political leanings. It is unclear whether Rittenhouse is a Democrat or Republican, but in a recent interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, he said he supports the culturally-Marxist BLM movement. Still, his statements do not seem to matter to the organizations. Rittenhouse has been framed as a “white supremacist” conservative.

Ryne Bolick, a member of the executive board in ASU’s College Republicans club, told The Federalist he thinks the left-wing groups’ calls to get Rittenhouse kicked off-campus are “absurd.”

“We obviously recognize their First Amendment rights to protest but that doesn’t mean we can’t think they’re kind of absurd in their calls to get Rittenhouse kicked off-campus. And it’s not like he’s trying to be some political asset. After all, he’s literally trying to get his nursing degree,” Bolick said. “He was acquitted on all charges. So, he’s an innocent student. And they’re trying to kick him off campus.”

A spokesman for ASU’s Students for Socialism told Fox News that “the court[s] [verdict] is one of the thousands of cases that have been influenced by biased judges, predominantly white juries, and mistakes inherent in a judicial system founded off of injustice to begin with.”

Rittenhouse said his self-defense actions “had nothing to do with race.” Key witnesses described in their testimonies that one of the individuals who was shot — Joseph Rosenbaum — reached for his gun and threatened to kill Rittenhouse.

Prior to being acquitted, high-level Democrats took to defaming Rittenhouse. President Joe Biden referred to him as a “white supremacist” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid compared the case to the lynching of a black man. MSNBC host Tiffany Cross said after the trial that the verdict was “disgusting” due to a “little murderous white supremacist” being acquitted for a crime he did not commit.

“The jury reached the correct verdict,” Rittenhouse said after the trial. “Self-defense is not illegal. And I believe they came to the correct verdict and I’m glad that everything went well.”

Bolick, a sophomore, also said he thinks the corporate media’s portrayal of Rittenhouse has led to the narrative blaming, as well as the radical reaction from uninformed students.

“They made it seem like he was going out of his way looking for trouble,” said Bolick. “But when you actually listen to the trial, he was going there because he had family friends that were in the car lot. So he went with a fire extinguisher to put out fires. He was cleaning up graffiti and the gun was purely there to just protect himself. So when you look at the initial media coverage, he was definitely portrayed in a way to make him look like a villain — but that was not the case whatsoever.”

It remains to be seen whether ASU’s administration will stand by the innocent student it admitted for credit. The university could not immediately be reached for comment.

Source

Unlike Most Media Figures, ESPN’s Richard Jefferson Apologizes For False Rittenhouse Information

Unlike Most Media Figures, ESPN’s Richard Jefferson Apologizes For False Rittenhouse Information

In a series of tweets on Saturday, ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson held himself accountable better than most legacy media for reporting false information about the Rittenhouse trial.

One day after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all accounts, Jefferson took to Twitter saying he “made a mistake during a very emotional time” which made him “say something that was false.”

The sports analyst continued to say Rittenhouse “did not bring a gun across state lines,”  realizing he had read “something that was false.” 

Jefferson’s comments come after the misleading coverage of the Rittenhouse trial by legacy media that indicated the 17-year-old drove across state lines, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, with an illegally acquired rifle to a town he had no connection to. 

Additionally, celebrities have belittled Rittenhouse in public. Author Stephen King called Rittenhouse “eerily like Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters.” Lebron James mocked Rittenhouse’s emotional response to his trial: “What tears?????,” he tweeted. “I didn’t see one,” James continued. “Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court.”

Following the trial, many have called for Rittenhouse to sue corporate media for defamation.

Source

Banned From TV: A Mother’s Call To Help Her Vaccine Injured Child

Banned From TV: A Mother’s Call To Help Her Vaccine Injured Child

Most Banned Videos – Oct 25, 2021

13-year-old Maddie de Garay volunteered for the Pfizer vaccine clinical trials. She volunteered to help, but did not expect that she would suffer significant Pfizer vaccine-related injuries. Maddie’s mother will be testifying at the FDA’s VRBPAC Meeting on Pfizer Data on October 26th.

The public can submit public comments to the FDA for its VRBPAC meeting on Pfizer Data taking place 10/26 for Children ages 5-11.

A link to submit a public comment can be found here: https://www.regulations.gov/search?filter=FDA-2021-N-1088

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SourceSouth Australian Gov Criminal Organisation

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