The former FBI lawyer whose misconduct aided the ill-fated Crossfire Hurricane probe that sought to find Russian collusion within the 2016 Trump campaign will not go to prison for his deed.
Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced Friday to a year of probation and 400 hours of community service, according to the New York Post.
In 2017, Clinesmith falsified an email that helped the FBI renew its efforts to keep wiretapping Carter Page, an ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
He said the damage done to Clinesmith’s career by the revelation of what he did and suffering through what the judge called a “media hurricane” was punishment enough.
The judge also said he believed Clinesmith, who was an admitted critic of Trump, when the former FBI lawyer claimed his actions were not politically motivated.
“Anybody who has watched what Mr. Clinesmith has suffered is not someone who will readily act in that fashion,” Boasberg said.
“Weighing all of these factors together — both in terms of the damages he caused and what he has suffered and the positives in his own life — I believe a probationary sentence is appropriate here and will therefore impose it,” he said.
Prosecutors, however, said Clinesmith had an expressed antipathy to Trump, arguing it was “plausible that his strong political views and/or personal dislike of [Trump] made him more willing to engage in the fraudulent and unethical conduct to which he has pled guilty,” according to The Washington Post.
“While it is impossible to know with certainty how those views may have affected his offense conduct, the defendant plainly has shown that he did not discharge his important responsibilities at the FBI with the professionalism, integrity, and objectivity required of such a sensitive job position,” prosecutors said.
Clinesmith expressed remorse.
“I harmed the very institutions that I cherish and admire. I am truly ashamed by the harm I have brought to the FBI,” he said.
Page, who has filed a civil suit claiming he is owed $75 million collectively from the Justice Department, FBI and former FBI Director James Comey, said Friday in court that he was grievously harmed by what he called a “manufactured scandal.”
Former Trump 2016 campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who spent two weeks in jail and was pardoned last month, was livid over the sentence.
“Prosecutor Anthony Scarpelli said in court that Clinesmith’s conduct was ‘more egregious’ than that of George Papadopoulos,” Papadopoulos tweeted. “This is just the beginning. Not the end of Obamagate.”
Prosecutor Anthony Scarpelli said in court that Clinesmith’s conduct was “more egregious” than that of George Papadopoulos
This is just the beginning. Not the end of Obamagate.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) January 29, 2021
Clinesmith, who was assigned to the Russia investigation as part of his work in the FBI general counsel’s office, has admitted 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.
This punishment trivializes what I believe to be a stunning breach of duty to the Court and to the American people. https://t.co/KukQ9XfWVE
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 29, 2021
According to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 2019 report on the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court applications to surveil Page, 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 reportedly contacted a CIA liaison who indicated via email that Page had been a source for the agency.
However, when the email was forwarded to the FBI agent working on the application, Clinesmith added the words “not a source” to it.
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