According to bombshell new testimony from her 2016 campaign manager, Hillary Clinton personally authorized her campaign to share now-debunked computer data linking Donald Trump with a Russian bank.
Robby Mook testified as a witness for the defense of Michael Sussmann, former Clinton campaign manager. Mook told jurors that he had discussed the matter with the then-Democratic nominee shortly before Election Day. When describing the end of his conversation with Clinton, Mook recalled Clinton telling him, “Hey, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter.”
“She agreed to that,” said Mook.
The shocking disclosure is the first evidence presented that Hillary Clinton was aware of allegations of an alleged secret backchannel between Russia’s Alfa Bank and a Trump Organization server — before the theory was published publicly eight days before the 2016 election.
Mook acknowledged that the Clinton campaign had not verified the accuracy of the data at the time. “Part of the point of giving it to a reporter was they could run it down further. A reporter could vet the information and then decide to print it,” said Mook.
According to Mr. Mook, he was first told about the Alfa Bank-Trump claims by Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias. He added that he did not recall where the data source suggested a connection came from.
Before taking the data directly to Clinton, the former campaign manager said he discussed the matter with top Hillary Clinton aides Jake Sullivan, Jennifer Palmeri, and John Podesta.
John Durham, the special counsel, alleges that former tech executive Rodney Joffe, the Clinton campaign, and Sussmann participated in a “joint venture” to gather and then spread the Alfa Bank data to smear then-candidate Trump.
However, in an earlier pretrial ruling, Washington D.C., federal Judge Christopher Cooper limited the amount of evidence Durham could present “with respect to an uncharged and unlawful joint venture.” Judge Cooper said it could “confuse the jury and distract from the issues at hand.”
Former President Trump said revelations from Mook that Clinton herself agreed to share unproven information linked him to a Russian bank is “one of the greatest political scandals in history. For three years, I had to fight her off and fight those crooked people off, and you’ll never get your reputation fully back.”
“Where do I get my reputation back?” questioned Trump.
Sussmann on trial for lying to the FBI
Michael Sussmann is on trial on a single charge of lying to the FBI in September 2016, when he denied that he was working on behalf of Joffe and the campaign at the time he turned over three “white papers” and the Alfa Bank-Trump data claims to the FBI’s then-general counsel.
Mook’s testimony occurred during cross-examination by a member of the special counsel. It prompted the removal of the jury from the courtroom so the judge could hold a sidebar discussion with the prosecution and defense.
Following the sidebar, Judge Cooper announced that he might allow evidence to be introduced by prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis including a tweet posted by Clinton on October 31, 2016, quickly following the left-wing Slate website’s publication of a report about the Alfa Bank data.
“Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank,” wrote Clinton.
Clinton also attached a statement by Sullivan, now President Biden’s national security advisor, which read, “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
Previously, the judge had ruled that the tweet was “likely duplicative of other evidence” and was inadmissible “hearsay” Durham could use against Sussmann. After Mook resumed testifying, he tried to walk back his previous remarks regarding Clinton, saying he was unsure if they had spoken before or after information was shared with the press.
According to Mook, “All I remember is that she agreed with the decision. I can’t recall the exact sequence of events.”