While the liberal TV host avoided covering the official indictment that came on Thursday, she did address a New York Times report on Wednesday that previewed the legal woes facing Michael Sussmann, an attorney who was accused of lying to the FBI regarding not disclosing his ties to the Clinton campaign after pushing for an investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia in 2016, specifically over his connection to the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank presented as nefarious.
Maddow, who previously championed the Russian collusion narrative during the Mueller probe, promoted the so-called “mystery” of the “unusual communication” between the bank and a server belonging to the Trump Organization on her program in 2018.
“The importance of this story from the very beginning was basically that nobody knew what that meant! Nobody knew what this was!” Maddow chuckled on Wednesday. “I mean, even the headline of that first story at Slate was posted in the form of a question. ‘Was a Trump server communicating with Russia?’ Was it? It’s hard to tell but it did seem like there was something weird there. There was something unexplained and odd in the data.”
While the MSNBC host now admitted the findings could have been “benign” or “really nothing,” she pointed to “experts” who at the time sounded the alarm of the peculiar observations.
Maddow then mocked the “outlandish” suggestion the Alfa Bank narrative was “fabricated” and a “product of a conspiracy theory orchestrated by the Clinton campaign and the Democrats and the ‘Deep State’ to frame Donald Trump,” something the bank has since alleged in defamation lawsuits.
“And the Trump Justice Department appears to have sort of run with that,” Maddow smirked.
She then painted the Durham probe as a sole product of then-President Trump’s demands to support his claim that the Russia investigation was a “hoax.”
“You might not be aware of this, you may not have even heard of John Durham’s name if you don’t regularly consume right-wing media, but for the last two years of the Trump administration, hosts on the Fox News channel and right-wing blogs and Republican lawmakers have been constantly heralding what the Durham investigation was going to reveal,” Maddow said. “For years now, the Durham investigation has been this holy grail for Trump and his supporters, the thing that will finally expose the Russia investigation as some kind of crime against Trump that itself must be avenged.”
After reading large portions of the Times report of the then-incoming Sussmann indictment, Maddow stressed what a “weird development” it is for her viewers seemed to defend Sussmann as someone concerned about the Trump-Russia findings and downplayed his apparent dishonesty regarding his work for the Clinton campaign.
“So what that apparently leaves Durham with is a lawyer who gave the FBI some information he says he thought they should have. The FBI chased that down and decided, ‘eh, it’s probably nothing.’ And maybe that lawyer- there’s some question as to whether he fully revealed who he was representing at that time? Does it matter who he was representing at the time?” Maddow asked. “We do not have all the facts yet. Whether this lawyer told the FBI something untrue about who his client is, whether it matters who his client was when he gave this information for the FBI for them to look into, that is something that may be hashed out in court. But the big picture here, the substance of the suspicion around the Alfa Bank stuff is that this might be evidence of some means of the covert communication between a U.S. presidential campaign and a foreign entity that was trying to influence our election. If you came across that, you had some cybersecurity expert guy who was your client and he brought you that data, whether you were working for Hillary Clinton or you were working for Donald Trump or you were working for freaking Donald Duck, if you were a computer scientist or experienced cybersecurity lawyer who have the cybersecurity chops to know what that data meant, what the worst-case scenario about this would really mean in terms of our national security of the country, the responsible thing to do is to take it to the FBI… That’s what they tell you to do. If you see something, say something, right?… Even if it proves to be nothing, that seems like the right thing to do, an understandable thing to do in this circumstance, right?”
“Well, the special counsel appointed by Bill Barr left in place during the Biden administration and apparently left room to roam by Attorney General Merrick Garland is trying to criminalize that act. See something, say something? If you said something about Donald Trump, we’ll try to put you in jail,” she added.