Mar 18, 2022
Trump Admin Scores Russia Probe Win as Former FBI Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty to Falsifying Documents
BY MEGHAN ROOS ON 8/14/20 AT 2:07 PM EDT
FBI RUSSIA PROBE
A former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer is expected to plead guilty to falsifying a document that helped the bureau conduct surveillance on a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Kevin Clinesmith’s expected guilty plea marks a win for the Trump administration, which has criticized questions regarding his campaign’s ties to Russia for years and in 2019 launched an inquiry of its own into the investigation that special counsel Robert Muller conducted during Trump’s first few years in office.
Trump addressed Clinesmith’s expected plea at the beginning of a press briefing at the White House on Friday afternoon.
“Kevin Clinesmith, a corrupt FBI attorney who falsified FISA warrants in James Comey’s very corrupt FBI is expected to plead guilty,” Trump told reporters. “That’s just the beginning, I imagine. What happened should never happen again.”
The president went on to say it was a “terrible thing,” adding “they spied on my campaign—and they got caught.”
Clinesmith worked for the bureau in 2017 as it was investigating Carter Page, who joined Trump’s campaign as an adviser in 2016. Page’s ties to Russia helped fuel later allegations that Russia helped Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
Despite the connections Page and other members of Trump’s campaign had with Russian officials, Muller concluded in 2019 that there was not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against any of Trump’s campaign advisers or administration officials.
The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building is seen on January 28, 2019 in Washington, D.C. A former FBI lawyer is expected to plead guilty to falsifying documents used to gain surveillance approval for a former adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Shortly after Mueller’s investigation began, Clinesmith allegedly made changes to an email to help the FBI gain approval to surveil Page. On June 19, 2017, Clinesmith allegedly changed the wording of a government email sent four days earlier to assist the bureau’s investigation efforts, according to court documents obtained by the AP.
The revision Clinesmith allegedly made to the email changed its meaning to suggest Page was not a government source, though Page had worked with the CIA, the AP reported.
Clinesmith “did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement,” the court documents allege.
Clinesmith resigned from the FBI last year and was identified as a possible target for the Department of Justice as it began looking into the bureau’s Russia investigation, according to the AP.
The charge announced against Clinesmith on Friday marks the first criminal case filed in connection with the inquiry into Mueller’s Russia investigation, according to the AP.