- The Washington Times - Friday, August 14, 2020

A former FBI lawyer will plead guilty Friday to falsifying a key document used to surveil ex-Trump campaign associate Carter Page, his lawyer confirmed.

It is the first indictment brought by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has tapped by Attorney General William P. Barr earlier this year to conduct a criminal inquiry into the origins of the FBI’s probe into collusion allegations between the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 election.

Kevin Clinesmith, 38, who worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe, will admit that he falsified a document.

“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,” Mr. Clinesmith’s attorney Megan Cunniff Church wrote in an email to The Washington Times.

President Trump suggested there are more charges to come.

“So that’s just the beginning, I imagine. Because what happened should never happen again,” he told reporters Friday in the White House briefing room. “Terrible thing, terrible thing. The fact is they spied on my campaign and got caught.”

Prosecutors say that Mr. Clinesmith in early 2017 changed a document to say Mr. Page was not a source for the CIA, when he actually was. The assertion was used by the Justice Department to obtain the third Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for Mr. Page.

“Kevin Clinesmith did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing document… to contain a false, fictitious and fraudulent statement,” prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. wrote.

Mr. Clinesmith was first outed, although not directly named, in a report last year by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. He is identified in the report as “Office of General Counsel attorney,” but the report makes it clear he is the one who changed the email.

An FBI supervisory special agent told Mr. Howoritz’s team that investigators wanted a “definitive answer” to whether Mr. Page had ever been a source for another U.S. government agency before he signed the renewal application.

While in contact with what appeared to be the FBI’s liaison to the CIA, Mr. Clinesmith was informed via email that Mr. Page was indeed a source for the CIA.

Mr. Clinsmith than altered the email by inserting the words “not a source” into it, making it appear as if Mr. Page had no relationship with the CIA.

“Relying upon this altered email, [Supervisory Special Agent] 2 signed the third renewal application that again failed to disclose Page’s past relationship with the other agency,” Mr. Horowitz wrote.

According to the Horowitz report, Mr. Page had been an “operational contact” for the CIA from 2008 to 2013 and provided the agency with information on Russian intelligence officers based on his visits to that country.

The CIA had given Mr. Page, a “positive assessment,” which was left out of the FISA warrant application.

Mr. Clinesmith had served as an attorney with the FBI’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch. He worked under former FBI General Counsel James Baker and reported to disgraced anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok during the Clinton email investigation.

In a July 2018 inspector general report on the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, Mr. Clinesmith appears again, but not directly identified, as one of the FBI officials who showed a possible bias against Trump, along with Mr. Strzok and his mistress, ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Just hours after Mr. Trump’s presidential victory, Mr. Clinesmith lamented the win, saying “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently.”

Weeks later, he texted “Viva la Resistance!,” a phrase used by anti-Trump activists.

The July 2018 report claims that Mr. Clinesmith’s anti-Trump messages only reflected his personal views, but did not affect his work. Mr. Horowitz ultimately did not find if political bias influenced either investigation.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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