- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2019

The FBI lawyer under criminal investigation over accusations he altered a document connected to the surveillance of a Trump adviser was kicked off former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team for anti-Trump texts, according to a report Friday.

The New York Times identified Kevin Clinesmith as the former FBI attorney under investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is probing the origins of the Russia probe.

It was reported that Mr. Durham is probing whether an FBI lawyer falsified an email that was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to surveil Mr. Page.

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Mr. Clinesmith was the primary FBI attorney assigned to the Russia probe in 2017. He also served with the FBI’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch. He left the bureau two months ago after he was interviewed by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The purportedly altered document was uncovered in Mr. Horowitz’s probe into whether the FBI abused its power when it applied for the FISA warrant.

Mr. Clinesmith was briefly part of the Mueller team, but resigned in February 2018 after Mr. Horowitz identified him among a handful of FBI officials who expressed animus towards President Trump.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were also identified as among the agents who sent anti-Trump text messages. They also departed the Mueller team.

In the earlier report, the inspector general found Mr. Clinesmith sent co-workers political jokes about the president, including one instant message after the election saying, “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently.”

Mr. Clinesmith worked on the 2016 probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use, then worked on the FBI’s original investigation into the Trump campaign and, eventually, with the special counsel’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

The special counsel’s office at the time downplayed Mr. Clinesmith’s involvement, portraying him more as a bit player, not key for its roster of prosecutors and federal agents. The office said he was never detailed to the special counsel but remained an FBI agent who supported the investigation in an administrative capacity.

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