Trey Gowdy Says FBI Lost Sussmann Trial, Not John Durham

Fox News host Trey Gowdy said it was the FBI that lost the trial against a lawyer whose firm represented Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

Gowdy made the remarks on his show, Sunday Night in America, after Michael Sussmann was acquitted of lying to the FBI last week in the first courtroom test of special counsel John Durham's investigation.

The verdict dealt a blow to Durham, who was appointed by Donald Trump's administration three years ago to look for wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia investigation, and angered the former president and Republicans.

But Gowdy said the trial's outcome doesn't end Durham's investigation.

"I'm sorry to disappoint the left but this verdict does not end the Durham investigation," he told viewers on Sunday evening's show, noting that the trial was focused on a meeting that took place in September 2016—well after the FBI had begun investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Sussmann was accused of concealing from the FBI that he was representing Clinton's campaign when he passed along computer data that he said showed a possible secret communication backchannel between the Trump Organization and Russia-Based Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin. The FBA examined the data and determined there had been no suspicious contact.

The FBI's then-general counsel James Baker testified that he was confident Sussmann had told him he wasn't representing any client during a September 2016 meeting. Lawyers for Sussmann denied he had lied, saying it was impossible to know for sure what he had told Baker since they were the only participants in the meeting and neither took notes.

"Durham's job is to find out what led the FBI to do what they did way before September of 2016," Gowdy said.

"Moreover, prosecutors do lose cases. It's not the end of the world and it's not the end of an investigation. Proving anything beyond a reasonable doubt is hard. And the only people who think it's easy are people on television who've never had to do it."

Gowdy went on to say that the FBI had "cast itself" as the victim in the case.

"How would you like to sell that to a jury?" he said. "How would you like to convince the jury the FBI was somehow victimised by a lawyer the entire world knew was connected with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

"There's a difference between being victimised and being duped. The FBI was duped wittingly or unwittingly. They took a meeting they should never have taken and they got played and that's the FBI is fault. So yes, somebody lost the trial this week. But it wasn't John Durham. It was the FBI."

The FBI has been contacted for comment.

Special Counsel John Durham
Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed in 2019 after the release of the Mueller report to probe the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, departs after his trial recessed for the day at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on May 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images