Clinesmith is a Trump hater to such a degree that he once wrote “Viva [sic] le [sic] resistance” in an email. Why would a lawyer working for the FBI on the biggest case in politics be so indiscreet as to create a record of altering a document in the course of making a false statement of huge importance? Either Clinesmith was so confident in being surrounded by allies in the anti-Trump resistance that he believed he would never be caught, or he was so blinded by Trump loathing that he was willing to do something breathtakingly out of character for a trained, experienced Washington lawyer.

The press that spent two years on the shaggy-dog story of the nonexistent Trump–Russia conspiracy has been extravagantly bored by the new development. CNN’s coverage of the matter on its website has been limited to two pieces, one a news item meant to downplay the guilty plea and one a column by Chris Cillizza meant to downplay the guilty plea. Cillizza focuses on Trump’s typically hyperbolic and imprecise comments on the matter and concludes, of the case, “What it doesn’t prove is that Trump’s wild claims that there is a ‘deep state’ conspiracy that tried to keep him from being elected and has worked against him since he got into office actually exists. The facts just aren’t there.”

No, a Trump-hating FBI member who said he was part of “le [sic] resistance” simply falsified a document as part of a months-long play to obtain and renew FISA court approval, under false pretenses, to unleash all of the levers of state surveillance to spy on a Trump aide. It strains credulity to believe such a nobody as Carter Page was the actual target; he was just the tool the FBI used to wedge its way into Trump’s inner circle. Nothing deep-statey about that at all.