Barr's Investigation of Russia Probe Getting First Guilty Plea

False statement count involves altering a government email
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2020 2:25 PM CDT
Barr's Investigation of Russia Probe Getting First Guilty Plea
US Attorney John Durham, shown in 2006, was chosen for the investigation by Attorney General William Barr.   (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

A former FBI lawyer will plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from US Attorney John Durham's investigation into the probe of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to one count of making a false statement related to the altering of a government email about a former Trump campaign adviser who was a target of FBI surveillance, attorney Justin Shur said, per the AP. Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the department's inspector general's office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation. That review found that the Russia probe was opened for a legitimate reason and did not find proof of political bias, but it also concluded that the FBI made errors and omissions as it applied for warrants to eavesdrop on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, who resigned from the FBI last year, of altering an email about Page to say that he was “not a source” for another government agency and forwarding it along. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. Clinesmith told the inspector general that from his conversations he did not understand Page to be a source, or a “recruited asset,” or to have a direct relationship with another government agency. But that relationship was seen as something important to disclose to the FISA court, especially if Page was being tasked by the government to have interactions with Russians. “Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email," Shur said. “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.” (Barr had promised to "investigate the investigators.")

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