Press: Is Merrick Garland working for Donald Trump?

There’s no lack of big stories demanding the attention of Washington reporters these days including: President Biden’s trip to Asia; the Republican Party’s embrace of the great replacement theory; the likely Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade. 

But reporters are missing one of the biggest stories, right under their nose: Today, in a Washington courtroom, the Biden Justice Department is prosecuting a veteran D.C. lawyer for telling the truth about Donald Trump. Or, to put it another way, Attorney General Merrick Garland is allowing a Trump appointee to go into federal court and defend one of Trump’s biggest lies.  

I’m talking about the trial of attorney Michael Sussman, accused of lying to the FBI by Trump ally John Durham.  

Let me explain. While polluting the Oval Office for four years, Donald Trump told so many lies it’s hard to keep count of them. The Washington Post gave up at 30,573. The worst, of course, is his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him: which is so far from the truth it’s known as “The Big Lie.” 

But Trump told a lot of other big lies, like his double whopper that Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion with Russia by Trump’s 2016 campaign, and that the FBI, by investigating possible collusion, was taking sides with Hillary Clinton. Both of which are patently untrue. In his final report, Mueller, in fact, outlined multiple contacts between Trump operatives and Russian officials.  

The idea that the hapless FBI was in cahoots with the Clinton campaign is especially absurd – and should have, and would have, been dropped long ago except for two things. One, former AG Bill Barr actually named a special counsel, John Durham, to investigate the FBI’s investigation of Trump. And two, instead of immediately firing him, new AG Merrick Garland left Durham on the payroll in his mission to prove Trump was right in calling the FBI investigation of Russian intervention a “witch hunt.” 

Today we see the mind-blowing result. The Biden administration is actually in federal court, accusing attorney Michael Sussman of lying when he met with a senior FBI official to suggest they look into Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russia’s ALFA Bank. Sussman insists he was acting on his own, as a concerned citizen. Durham says he’s lying. 

But here’s the point. The whole thing is irrelevant. Surely, FBI officials knew, before meeting with Sussman, that his law firm, and sometimes Sussman himself, represented the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Clinton campaign officials have testified under oath that they did not direct Sussman to go to the FBI. Furthermore, the FBI did, in fact, look into the ALFA Bank issue, but didn’t pursue it. So where’s Durham’s evidence that Sussman was lying? He has none. And where’s the crime? There is none. 

The real question reporters should be asking is not whether Sussman was lying, but: Why is this trial even happening? Or why is John Durham still on the job? His was a political appointment by Trump crony Bill Barr as part of his attempts to humor his boss and politicize the Justice Department. So why didn’t Merrick Garland, reportedly so anxious to cleanse the DOJ of accusations of politics, fire Durham on Day One, instead of letting him use the criminal justice system to advance Donald Trump’s personal vendetta? 

This Sussman trial is an outrageous abuse of justice, and there’s nobody to blame but Merrick Garland. Donald Trump can rest easy in Mar-A-Lago. Merrick Garland’s doing his dirty work for him in Washington. 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”  

Tags Biden Merrick Garland Michael Sussman Robert Mueller Russian collusion special coumsel

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