Kevin Clinesmith must feel like an idiot for pleading guilty without a trial after a D.C.-area jury acquitted Clinton co-conspirator Michael Sussman for his role in the plot to frame Donald Trump for colluding with the Russians, supposedly to steal the 2016 election. Sussman’s D.C.-based jury which featured partisan Democrat donors rendered a quick “not-guilty” verdict. While the Left undoubtedly sees the acquittal as another “lawfare” victory against the bad orange man, that victory did not come without cost to its enabling allies.
First, the acquittal further reinforces the impression of a two-tiered justice system in which the politics and privilege of the accused determine the outcome. As Julie Kelly continues to show, the FBI, which played a central role in the plot to frame Trump, is now viewed by a majority of Republicans and a large minority of Democrats as, “the personal gestapo” of Joe Biden. If the FBI frames its political opponents, as it attempted to do with Trump, then it can’t expect potential witnesses and jurors to cooperate with or trust its agents.
Second, we know a little more about the Russia collusion hoax plot and are therefore better-armed against the next dirty trick. That’s something. Special Counsel John Durham did uncover a few new puzzle pieces to the Russia Collusion Hoax. When you fit in the new information with what we already know, one sees the scope of Hillary Clinton’s astonishingly brazen and undemocratic effort to reverse the 2016 election following Election Day. Unlike the January 6 event, which a politicized FBI and Justice Department pursued with partisan zeal, the Clinton plot came much closer to undoing an election.
As we long suspected, Clinton personally authorized a complex operation to frame Trump. The case against Sussman involved a relatively tangential subplot of the hoax—the allegation that Trump had a secret back-channel with a Russian bank. While she initially may have run the scheme to win the 2016 election, the effort quickly pivoted to a serious and nearly-successful attempt to overturn the 2016 election before Trump could assume office.
During the Sussman trial, former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified that Clinton’s campaign directly asked Hillary Clinton to approve the dissemination of false accusations that the Trump campaign had a secret channel of communication through the Russian Alfa Bank. Clinton appears to have had the Trump-Russia hoax on her mind during the October 19, 2016 debate in which she directly accused Trump of being a puppet of Russia. Twelve days later, Slate published an article with the Alfa Bank story Clinton’s operatives had cooked up.
But much of the juiciest material remained unused on the night Clinton lost to Trump. Although Clinton’s allies and operatives circulated the infamous Steele dossier as part of the Washington, D.C. whisper campaign in November 2016, the public remained unaware of Clinton’s most explosive claims—namely, that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen paid Russian hackers for their election interference and that the Russians possessed video footage of Trump urging prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed.
On December 12, 2016, a group of electors, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, wrote the director of national intelligence demanding a briefing on the Russia collusion accusation. The letter clearly indicated the purpose of the briefing, which was to change the votes of electors and deny Donald Trump the White House.
“We intend to discharge our duties as Electors by ensuring that we select a candidate for president who, as our Founding Fathers envisioned, would be ‘endowed with the requisite qualifications,’” they wrote. “Accordingly, to fulfill our role as Electors, we seek an informed and unrestrained opportunity to fulfill our constitutional role leading up to December 19th—that is, the ability to investigate, discuss, and deliberate with our colleagues about whom to vote for in the Electoral College.”
Within the government, Clinton allies sought to append the Steele reporting directly to a national intelligence assessment. In particular, the FBI, a contributing agency, “sought to introduce a summary of the material from . . . Christopher Steele . . .”
Although Clinton kept secret her role in creating the Steele smears, her campaign made no secret of their desire to reverse the election using the Russia hoax. Clinton campaign figure John Podesta said, “The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security . . . Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.”
The plan to use the intelligence community (IC) to swing electors ultimately failed, but just barely. On December 18, just one day before the electors cast their votes, the director of national intelligence declined to provide the requested briefing. The final IC report was not published in time for the December 19 vote of electors and the appendix regarding the Steele dossier was kept from the public.
Nevertheless, Clinton came much closer to overturning the election than the January 6 protesters ever did. Clinton succeeded in capturing the FBI to lobby for the inclusion of her hoax in the official IC assessment. Even without the direct IC briefing to electors, the smear campaign succeeded in turning two Trump electors against their candidate. Had Clinton achieved her goal of getting the IC to directly sponsor the hoax to the electors, more defectors would have certainly followed.
Clinton, it now appears, will get away with it. Although she has now settled a complaint accusing her of illegally using campaign funds to pay for the hoax, the FEC charged her a mere $113,000 fine—a laughable pittance in comparison to the $1 billion raised for her campaign. Thus, one can add the FEC to the long list of politically-corrupt institutions which protected the plotters. There’s only one rule in D.C. the Justice Department consistently enforces—all laws and norms exist to preserve and extend the Democratic Party’s monopoly over key institutions. That’s why the 2016 plotters walk free while the January 6 defendants rot in jail without trial or bail.