The campaign manager for the 2016 Clinton campaign testified that Hillary Clinton personally signed off on spreading a conspiracy theory tying then-candidate Donald Trump to a Russian bank.
The since-debunked claims involved digital interactions between a computer at Trump Towers and the Russian-based Alfa Bank.
Robby Mook was testifying on Friday as a part of the defense for Michael Sussmann, who is charged with allegedly lying to the FBI by not clarifying his ties to the Clinton campaign when he passed along information to the agency. The trial of Sussmann is a part of U.S. special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the sources of the Russian collusion story.
Mook said that he encouraged Clinton to approve the release of the data despite it being unverified at the time.
“We discussed it with Hillary,” Mook said. “She agreed with the decision.”
A campaign staffer released the information to Slate magazine, which published it on Oct. 31 2016.
“I recall it being a member of our press staff,” said Mook. “We authorized a staff member to share it with the media.”
Clinton then tweeted out the Slate story from her official social media account.
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty about lying to the FBI and claims that he gave them the information as a concerned citizen.
Mook confirmed Sussmann’s claim in his testimony and said that he did not order him to take the data to the FBI.
“Going to the FBI does not seem like an effective way to get information out to the public,” he said. “You do that through the media, which is why the information was shared with the media.”
Mook also testified that he didn’t even know who Sussmann was at the time and he would have opposed a meeting with the FBI had he known about it.
Critics have excoriated the Clinton campaign for what they say is a coordinated campaign to use the FBI to smear Trump over baseless accusations of Russian collusion.
Here’s a video about the Mook admission:
Hillary Clinton OK’d sharing Trump-Russia ‘data,’ campaign manager says | New York Post