- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2021

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is the “foreign policy adviser” identified in special counsel John Durham’s indictment of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann, according to a report Tuesday.

The revelation, reported by Fox News, is significant because it is the strongest connection Mr. Durham has made linking the Clinton campaign, the Biden administration and the spread of the false Trump-Russia collusion story. Mr. Durham is investigating suspected wrongdoing by the FBI when it was looking into actions by Donald Trump and his associates during the 2016 presidential election.

It does not appear that Mr. Sullivan is a target of the Durham probe, but the inquiry might get uncomfortable for the top national security official in the Biden White House.

Mr. Durham is zeroing in on the Clinton campaign’s role in spreading since-debunked accusations of links between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

Mr. Sullivan served as the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser, but he has insisted that he did not know the Clinton campaign manufactured the Alfa Bank story.

According to the Sussmann indictment, an unidentified Clinton campaign attorney exchanged emails with the campaign’s manager, communications director and “foreign policy adviser” about sharing the Alfa Bank accusations with an unidentified reporter.

The foreign policy adviser was Mr. Sullivan, Fox News reported, citing two “well-placed sources.”

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment in response to a request from The Washington Times.

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she hadn’t seen the report and declined to comment.

Mr. Sussmann, an attorney for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, is charged with lying to the FBI in a 2016 meeting where he shared debunked claims about links between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

The indictment says Mr. Sussmann told FBI General Counsel James Baker that he was not representing a client during the meeting but was there on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Mr. Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the time he spent with Mr. Baker, the indictment said.

Mr. Durham last week indicted Russian analyst Igor Danchenko, who is accused of making false statements to the FBI about how he obtained information for former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier of salacious, unverified accusations tying Mr. Trump to Russia.

Some of the accusations Mr. Danchenko fed to Mr. Steele came from Charles Dolan, a public relations executive and close Clinton ally, according to the indictment.

Mr. Danchenko is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in an Alexandria, Virginia, federal courthouse on Wednesday.

Taken together, the two indictments show that the FBI was used by the Clinton campaign to push the false Russian collusion narrative.

Mr. Sullivan dedicated some time to promoting the purported Alfa Bank scandal while he was a member of the Clinton campaign.

On Oct. 31, 2016, Mrs. Clinton tweeted a statement from Mr. Sullivan promoting the bogus claim that a computer server connected the Trump Organization with Alfa Bank.

“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Mr. Sullivan tweeted. “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank. This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia. … This line of communication may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin.

“We can only assume federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia,” the statement said.

However, Mr. Sullivan testified before Congress in 2017 that he did not know that the Alfa Bank accusations were pushed by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump.

Mr. Sullivan testified that Marc Elias, a partner at the same law firm as Mr. Sussmann, would give updates on opposition research. He said he was unaware of the nature of those efforts or who was funding them.

Ultimately, reports of the link were unfounded. The FBI concluded that it was likely an innocuous explanation like a marketing email or spam.

A bipartisan report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2020 concluded that there were no covert communications between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization.

Special counsel Robert Mueller also dismissed such links. The Alfa Bank connection was not mentioned in his massive report outlining his conclusions. During his House testimony in 2019, Mr. Mueller said, “My belief at this point is that it’s not true.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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