The former FBI attorney who altered an email during the Russia probe – making it appear as though former Trump campaign aide Carter Page hadn’t been a CIA asset when, in fact, he was – may be able to practice law again in year.
Kevin Clinesmith, the attorney, pleaded guilty in August 2020 on a charge of felony false statement, receiving one year of probation and 400 hours of community service for his role in continuing the investigation into whether then-President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Clinesmith altered an email from an FBI agent that stated former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had been a source for the CIA, Politico reported. Clinesmith altered the email to say Page was “not a source” for the CIA, which helped the FBI continue its surveillance of Page.
Clinesmith’s attorney’s argued that he genuinely believed that what he was altering the email to say was true, and he simply wanted to save himself the additional work of reaching out to the CIA for an email. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg – an Obama nominee – sided with Clinesmith’s defense.
“My view of the evidence is that Mr. Clinesmith likely believed that what he said about Mr. Page was true,” Boasberg said, according to Politico. “By altering the email, he was saving himself some work and taking an inappropriate shortcut.”
Had Clinesmith followed through, however, Page would have been confirmed as a former CIA asset and nearly all of the FBI’s reasoning for spying on him would have been negated.
Clinesmith also agreed to a one-year suspension of his law license in Washington, D.C., Reuters reported, meaning he could practice law again in August.
“Clinesmith and his lawyers at Lathrop GPM signed a negotiated discipline with the District of Columbia office of disciplinary counsel on June 11 that set out the proposed suspension,” the outlet reported. “A hearing committee of the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility is expected to take up the proposal at a public hearing on July 19.”
Reuters added that the hearing committee could reject Clinesmith’s negotiated bar sanction. If it approves the sanction, Clinesmith would be able to practice law again as early as August, since the one-year suspension began last year when he pleaded guilty. His bar license is also suspended on an interim basis in Michigan.
When the Department of Justice’s Inspector General investigated the four FISA warrants against Page, it found 17 “inaccuracies and omissions,” including Clinesmith’s:
Omitted Page’s prior relationship with another U.S. government agency, despite being reminded by the other agency in June 2017, prior to the filing of the final renewal application, about Page’s past status with that other agency; instead of including this information in the final renewal application, the FBI OGC [Office of the General Counsel] Attorney altered an email from the other agency so that the email stated that Page was “not a source” for the other agency, which the FBI affiant relied upon in signing the final renewal application.
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