Day 2 of the Michael Sussmann Trial

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Trial Day 2

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”  Psalms 95:6 (KJV) 

Day 2 of the Michael Sussmann trial started with some housekeeping. Here are the rulings of note:

  1. Robby Mook, who has a scheduled vacation in Spain, will testify on Friday. He’s a defense witness.
  2. Evidence of Steele’s meetings with Sussmann and Fusion GPS in July 2016, and his tasking to conduct research on Alfa Bank, according to the judge, “can come in.” The judge observed they are “relevant to Mr. Sussmann’s activities for the campaign and his attorney-client relationship, as far as it went, with the campaign as it relates to Alfa-Bank.”

Onto the witnesses. We start with the short testimony of Deborah Fine.

Fine began working for the Hillary Clinton Campaign (aka Hillary for America) as “one of several deputy general counsels” in May 2016. She answered to Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel.

After being presented with calendar entries confirming her daily calls with Fusion GPS, she testified that she worked with them as “part of my work for the campaign.” In fact, she regularly interacted with Glenn Simpson and co-founder Peter Fritsch. Fine conceded that Fusion GPS were seemingly free to conduct research on their own, stating she “personally didn’t direct them” to accomplish specific tasks.

On cross, she admitted she didn’t now if Marc Elias spoke to anyone else at the Clinton Campaign about the activities of Fusion GPS. She was out of the loop regarding efforts to bring the Alfa Bank allegations to the NY Times or to the FBI.

Testimony of Laura Seago

Laura Seago worked with Fusion GPS back in 2016, where she reported directly to Fritsch and Simpson. She has been granted immunity by the Special Counsel for her testimony. She understood Marc Elias to be the Fusion GPS contact for the Clinton Campaign.

Seago stated she was present at a summer 2016 meeting with “Mr. Elias, my colleague Peter Fritsch from Fusion GPS, Mr. Sussmann, and Mr. Sussmann’s client Rodney Joffe.” As to the nature of that meeting:

“The general purpose, to the best of my recollection, was to discuss allegations of communications between the Trump organization and Alfa-Bank.”

Once the Alfa Bank allegations were developed, Seago met with journalist Franklin Foer (who would write the October 31, 2016 Alfa Bank article in Slate). The purpose of that meeting was to discuss “the allegations of com…

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