Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, two sources close to the matter tell Fox News.
Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation.
Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to say that he was “not a source” for another government agency. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. The DOJ relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Clinesmith is being charged in federal court in Washington and is expected to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement, his attorney Justin Shur told The Associated Press.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email. 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,” Shur later said in a statement.
President Trump, noting the case at the top of a Friday press conference, called the individual “corrupt” and predicted the charge is “just the beginning.”
“The fact is they spied on my campaign and they got caught. And you’ll be hearing more,” he said.
The Justice Department’s charging document stated that 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 and entry in a matter before the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the Government of the United States.”
The document said he altered another official’s June 2017 email to say Page (referred to as “Individual #1”) was “not a source” when the original email did not contain those words.
The filing said another official took Clinesmith’s altered email, relied on it, and signed and submitted the renewed FISA application to the FISA Court.
“The application for FISA #4 did not include Individual #1’s history or status with the OGA [other government agency],” the document read.
Durham was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, shortly after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether the campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Durham’s timeline was focused on July 2016, when the FBI’s original Russia probe began, through the appointment of Mueller in May 2017.