News & Politics

Boom: FBI Russiagate Lawyer Who Lied About Carter Page in FISA Document to Plead Guilty

AP Photo/Bob Child, File

The Durham investigation may be about to rack up its first conviction.

One of the FBI officials who spied on the Trump team during the campaign and during the early months of the administration plans to plead guilty to lying on a document used to get a FISA warrant extension to continue Operation Crossfire Hurricane —  otherwise known as Russiagate.

U.S. Attorney John Durham charged former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith with altering an email about then-Trump volunteer adviser Carter Page to secure another 90-day extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to keep spying on the Trump campaign for fantastical ties to Russia. Clinesmith reportedly intends to plead guilty.

The investigation into ties with Russia with then-candidate Trump and his team was based on Hillary Clinton’s opposition research, which itself was found to be bogus and based on bar-room stories and jokes. The memos, full of drunk fake history, rumors, and fantasies embodied in the so-called “Steele dossier,” were taken up by the FBI and used to get warrants to continue an official investigation into Trump and his campaign to find out if Trump was somehow a Russian secret agent and a Putin poodle, or at least smear him as such.

Treacherous Switch

Clinesmith completely changed the document—from the CIA verifying that Page provided the agency with reliable updates from his travels in Russia on an ongoing basis to saying Page was not a source. His attorneys claimed it was an innocent mistake.

Related: U.S. Attorney John Durham May Wait Until AFTER Election to Issue Report on Russia Probe

Clinesmith’s treacherous switch portrayed Page, a relative non-entity in the Trump campaign, into a shady character worthy of being surveilled – surveillance which included multiple generations of phone calls, wiretaps, email, and the like. One wiretap, for example, included the people with whom Page had interacted and with whom that next generation of targets had interacted. Former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova said that each wiretap represented multiple people.

Clinesmith was singled out in the Inspector General’s report on the Mueller investigation. The Washington Examiner reported that Michael Horowitz found Clinesmith had:

“altered the liaison’s email by inserting the words ‘not a source’ into it, thus making it appear that the liaison had said that Page was ‘not a source’ for the other agency” and sent it to “Supervisory Special Agent 2,” Horowitz found.

“Relying upon this altered email, [Clinesmith] signed the third renewal application that again failed to disclose Page’s past relationship with the other agency,” Horowitz wrote.

Barr Alludes to Legal Move

Attorney General Bill Barr alluded to the news about Clinesmith in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday night, saying, “It’s not an earth-shaking development, but it is an indication that things are moving along at the proper pace, as dictated by the facts in this investigation.” Hannity never asked for a follow-up.

Related: Attorney General Barr Just Made Major News on ‘Obamagate.’ You’ll Want to Sit Down for This

U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the Russiagate/Obamagate spy probe.

Both President Obama and Vice President Biden orchestrated at least some of the probe from the Oval Office according to information based on notes from a notorious January 5, 2017, meeting.