Donald Trump’s 2016 election conspiracy theory just took a big hit

The investigation into whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 election (it did) and whether it colluded with the Trump campaign to do so has been consistently described by the former president as “the most great witch hunt in American history.

The real story, according to Trump, was how the counterintelligence investigation into Russia began – a story that special counsel John Durham would uncover.

At the heart of what Trump called the ‘crime of the century’ was a Durham allegation that Michael Sussmann, a Clinton campaign lawyer, lied to the FBI about his own interests while passing on a tip about Trump and Russia. .
On Tuesday, Sussmann was found not guilty on the lying charge by a federal jury. As CNN wrote:

“The verdict is a major defeat for Durham and his Justice Department prosecutors, who spent three years seeking wrongdoing in the Trump-Russia investigation.”

It remains to be seen when Durham will conclude his investigation and if he will bring charges against anyone else.

But what is clear is that Sussmann’s allegation, which was by far the most high-profile finding of Durham’s investigation to date, amounts to a huge swing and failure on the part of the special advocate.

Point: It has always been difficult to align Trump’s outlandish claims about the seriousness of the Durham investigation with its results. Never has this disparity been as flagrant as it is today.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Michael Sussmann’s name.

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