The Sussman indictment

On Thursday John Hinderaker noted the indictment of the prominent — prominent in the sense of connected — Washington attorney Michael Sussman. A District of Columbia grand jury handed up the indictment on one false-statement count at the behest of Special Counsel John Durham. John H. wasn’t impressed, calling it “small potatoes.” If Sussman is the end of the road Durham is traveling on, John is correct and, whether or not that is the case, John is certainly correct to be cynical about the Durham project.

Whether or not Sussman is the end of Durham’s road, the indictment is worth reading. Durham procured the indictment last week because the five-year statute of limitations was about to run this weekend. If Durham is permitted to continue and any report he prepares allowed to come to light, this indictment may be more a preview than an ending.

Some percipient observers think the indictment falls into the former category rather than the latter. Among them, I think, is Andrew McCarthy, whose Ball of Collusion is in my opinion the best book on the Russia hoax so far. Andy’s NR column (behind NR’s paywall) is “The Real Story in Durham’s Indictment of Democratic Lawyer Michael Sussmann.” Joining Andy are the Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins in the column “Durham delivers on Russiagate” and the Journal’s editors in “Durham cracks the case” (both behind the Journal’s paywall).

What isn’t behind a paywall? The 27-page indictment itself (above) and McCarthy’s September 17 podcast with Rich Lowry on the indictment (below) as well as Jonathan Turley’s Hill column here. The indictment is (as Andy notes) “a speaking indictment” that intimates a purpose beyond the false-statement charge by itself.

We want the perpetrators of this hoax to suffer for the enormous harms they have wrought. This indictment is, as John H. assesses, “small potatoes” in the context of the biggest scandal in American political history. If the higher-ups skate — if the ultimate object of Durham’s investigation is a report (as Andy seems to anticipate at about 20:00 of the podcast, qualified later by his anticipation of possible indictments yet to come against Clinton campaign functionaries) rather than the further administration of justice to responsible parties inside the FBI and the Department of Justice, John H.’s cynicism will be vindicated. However, history must be told. The indictment seems to me a contribution to the history that is yet to be written.

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