FBI lawyer to plead guilty to doctoring email used to justify surveillance of Carter Page

FBI lawyer to plead guilty to doctoring email used to justify surveillance of Carter Page

Earlier today Ed wrote about AG Barr’s statement last night that something significant would be happening with the Durham probe today. It looks like this is it. A former FBI lawyer who doctored an email which was used to justify surveillance of Carter Page has agree to plead guilty according to the NY Times:

The lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, 38, who was assigned to the Russia investigation, plans to admit that he altered an email from the C.I.A. that investigators relied on to seek renewed court permission in 2017 for a secret wiretap on the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had at times provided information to the spy agency. Mr. Clinesmith’s lawyer said he made a mistake while trying to clarify facts for a colleague…

“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Mr. Clinesmith’s lawyer, Justin Shur, said in a statement. “It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility. ”

The claim that Clinesmith didn’t intend to do anything wrong is hard to square with the Washington Post’s account of what he did.

A criminal information — a court document filed Friday with the defendant’s consent — describes in detail the exchanges that led to Clinesmith’s planned plea.

In a series of instant messages with the FBI agent, Clinesmith wrote the CIA liaison “confirmed explicitly” that Page was never a source of theirs, according to the information. When the agent asked if they had that in writing, Clinesmith said yes and forwarded him the email with the altered phrase.

We’re also supposed to believe this had nothing to do with his personal animus toward President Trump. But the Times notes he was removed from Mueller’s investigation because of his texts about Trump.

Mr. Clinesmith was among the F.B.I. officials whom Mr. Mueller removed from the Russia investigation after Mr. Horowitz found messages they had exchanged expressing political animus against Mr. Trump. Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election victory, Mr. Clinesmith texted another official: “I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost.”

In another text, he wrote, “viva le resistance.”

So that’s the development today from Durham. The question that remains is when the next shoe will drop.

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