A former Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer is expected to plead guilty to falsifying a document that the FBI used to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to his attorney and court documents made public Friday.
Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was assigned to the Russia investigation as part of his work in the FBI general counsel’s office, plans to admit that he altered an email from the Central Intelligence Agency to make it say that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though Page had previously provided information for the agency, The New York Times reported.
The FBI relied on Clinesmith’s information and did not disclose Page’s relationship with the CIA in its application to renew a warrant to monitor Page as a possible foreign agent, according to The Washington Post.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Justin Shur, Clinesmith’s lawyer, said in a statement.
“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. ”
Text messages from Clinesmith also revealed his opposition to President Donald Trump; however, prosecutors did not reveal any evidence that Clinesmith’s actions were part of a broader conspiracy.
Clinesmith is being charged with a single felony count of making a false statement, court documents reveal.
Attorney General William Barr previewed the agreement the former FBI lawyer made with prosecutors on Thursday, telling the Fox News program “Hannity” that there would be “significant developments before the election.”
“It’s not an earth-shattering development, but it is an indication that things are moving along at the proper pace, as dictated by the facts in this investigation,” Barr said.
President Donald Trump also touched on the investigation in a Thursday interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
“Bill Barr has the chance to be the greatest of all time, but if he wants to be politically correct, he’ll be just another guy, because he knows all the answers, he knows what they have, and it goes right to Obama and it goes right to Biden,” Trump said.
Clinesmith’s alleged wrongdoing was first reported in Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s 2019 report on the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court applications to surveil Page.
According to Horowitz’s report, an FBI agent working on the FISA warrant application in June 2017 wanted a “definitive answer” regarding whether Page had been a CIA source.
Clinesmith, according to the report and people familiar with the matter, contacted a CIA liaison who indicated that Page “had or continued to have a relationship” with the agency, The Post reported.
However, when the email was forwarded to the FBI agent working on the application, Clinesmith added the words “not a source” to the email.
“There are a lot of different conspiracy theories, and part of our responsibility is to look at all of these things so we can assure people that these various theories have been looked at, and so this takes some time,” Barr told Fox host Mark Levin this week.
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