CBS News reported Friday that ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith intends to plead guilty to one federal charge of making “false statements” for his actions during what has become known as “Russiagate.”
According to CBS, Clinesmith’s is the “first criminal case” to come out of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s “investigation of the investigators” who probed President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team looking for ties to Russia that never materialized.
“What he did was wrong”
According to Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering, Clinesmith previously made headlines when it was revealed that he sent a text message to “an FBI colleague” following Trump’s win in November 2016 that read: “Viva le resistance.”
Clinesmith was again in the spotlight in late 2019 after The New York Times “confirmed that Clinesmith was ‘FBI Attorney 2′” in Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on Russiagate, Spiering reported.
According to CBS, that report, released in December 2019, revealed “that Clinesmith had altered a CIA email cited in the fourth application to the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2017.”
Clinesmith is now set to plead guilty to one count related to that incident.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” the former FBI attorney’s lawyer said in a statement, according to CBS. “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.”
“Never a source”
National Review’s Andrew McCarthy broke down the criminal information filed by the Justice Department against Clinesmith in a piece published Friday. McCarthy reported that the message in question came in response to a so-called “supervisory special agent,” or “SSA,” who wanted to know if Trump campaign staffer Carter Page had “ever been a ‘source’ for the CIA.”
“It was especially important for the SSA to know because the SSA was to be the affiant on the sworn FISA warrant application,” McCarthy explained. He went on:
On June 15, Clinesmith contacted a CIA liaison, asking whether Page was ever “a source in any capacity.” As summarized in the criminal information, the CIA liaison responded by listing documents, including the aforementioned August 17 memo, that the CIA had previously provided to “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team.”
The criminal information then quotes the CIA liaison: “My recollection is that [Page] was or is . . . [digraph] but the [documents] will explain the details.” The “digraph” is a two-letter designation that the CIA uses to describe an American citizen, such as Page, who has been approved by the CIA to have “operational contact” with a foreign power.
But Clinesmith failed to pass along this information; instead, according to McCarthy, he told the SSA that Page “was never a source.”
McCarthy reported Friday:
One June 19, while still running down details in preparation to be the affiant on the fourth FISA warrant, the SSA sent an instant message to Clinesmith, asking whether he’d gotten an update on whether Page had been a CIA source. Clinesmith responded that he’d learned Page was a “subsource” and “was never a source.”
It’s nice to hear that accountability is finally on its way in what Trump has long called the “Russia collusion hoax.” We can only hope Clinesmith isn’t the only one who feels Durham’s wrath before it’s all said and done.