This week saw a significant development in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe into the origins of an FBI investigation into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia.
But despite former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith’s recent guilty plea related to making false statements, some critics are nonetheless frustrated by the pace of Durham’s investigation. Now, one former federal prosecutor is urging Americans to be patient, and he hinted this week that a major breakthrough is on the way.
“In the first inning”
Andy McCarthy’s comments on the matter came during a recent Fox News Channel interview.
“You don’t win the game in the first inning,” he told host Bill Hemmer, according to Fox.
McCarthy stressed that Clinesmith’s guilty plea is “important,” suggesting coverage of this development has downplayed its significance.
“I think the crime is more serious than the defendant articulated it to be, but I think it’s good that Durham prosecuted it, and I think this is more like the beginning than the end,” he said, as Fox reported.
“I inserted that information”
Charges against the former FBI attorney stemmed from allegations that he illegally altered an email regarding Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser surveilled by federal investigators during the Russian collusion probe.
Specifically, Clinesmith wrote that Page was not a CIA source. The U.S. Department of Justice later used that claim when it sought to renew a warrant to spy on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
McCarthy welcomed the plea, but criticized Judge James Boasberg for accepting a statement that avoided any acknowledgment of wrongful intent.
“At the time, I believed the information I was providing in the email was accurate, but I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there and I inserted that information,” Clinesmith said, according to the Associated Press.
In response, McCarthy explained that to be charged with making a false statement, “it’s not enough that you know you are saying something that’s false, it has to be willful, which means you have to have an intention to deceive, an intention to violate the law.”
While Clinesmith’s plea might not have been as dramatic as McCarthy and others would have preferred, it does indicate that Durham and his team — tasked by Attorney General William Barr last spring with leading the probe — continue to make progress in their mission.