I doubt that Durham really thought that Michael Sussman would actually be convicted. Not with a judge that all but lives in the pockets of the same political machine that the investigation is supposed to be going after and three Clinton donors on the jury.
And, to no one’s surprise, Sussman was acquitted.
I’m not pinning much hope on the Durham investigation, but then again it doesn’t seem as if he was pinning much hope on the Sussman trial. The case against Sussman was a pretext for uncovering and making public a variety of background details and connections. That’s why most of the wrangling between the Democrat judge and the prosecution came down to arguments over making materials and allegations public.
Publicizing some of the details added pressure on the judge, but considering the city and the jury tilt, the outcome was an all but foregone conclusion.
But Sussman was just another in a series of interfaces. The real question is whether the Durham investigation has any appetite for going after bigger game and with more ammunition and more serious charges than lying to the FBI. That sort of thing was enough to nail Trump associates and anyone the system wants to bring down, but was never going to be enough to take down Clinton associates. Even if convicted, Sussman was not going to flip. Not on charges as weak as those.
The optimistic take is that the trial was meant to be part of the process of the investigation, not an end in and of itself. The pessimistic take is that this is the Mueller investigation with less resources and a different partisan brand, but will play out much the same way. The really pessimistic take is that it’s little more than an attempt to exculpate the FBI and the DOJ by trying to direct some of the blame at the Clinton campaign, but with no serious effort to actually uncover the truth.
We’ll find out which take is correct.