U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped in April 2019 to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe that relied on dubious information to spy on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has emerged from the abyss to make a sentencing suggesting.
Durham on Thursday filed a motion in court requesting a federal judge sentence former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty to altering a CIA email relating to former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, to a prison term “between the middle and upper end” of the allowable sentencing guidelines. Clinesmith altered an email from the CIA saying that Page had previously provided information to the agency in order to make it look like Page had not previously worked with the agency, thereby making his past dealings with Russian officials appear suspicious. The altered email helped the FBI continue to secure FISA surveillance warrants against Page.
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reported that Durham’s court filing asserts “that Clinesmith was aware of the significance of Page’s relationship with the CIA.” Ross also reported that Clinesmith has filed his own request to limit his sentence to probation without jail time. His attorneys referred to Clinesmith’s altering of the email as a “grievous mistake,” one for which he “accepts full responsibility.”
“They maintain that Clinesmith ‘did not knowingly lie’ about Page’s relationship with the CIA. Durham asserts that Clinesmith may have been motivated to alter the email due to ‘political or personal bias’ against Donald Trump and his campaign,” Ross reported. “Durham pointed to a Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server which flagged texts messages that Clinesmith sent criticizing Trump after his election win.”
In one message, Clinesmith wrote “Viva le Resistance,” an apparent reference to the Resistance Movement that sprung up immediately after Trump was elected.
In December 2019, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General released a report showing 17 “inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI’s FISA warrants against Carter Page, including Clinesmith’s altered email. The report noted that Page had previously worked with the CIA as an “operational contact” and that the CIA informed FBI investigators of this fact. This information was not included in the FISA warrant applications against Page. As Ross reported, “Clinesmith told the IG that the FBI finding out that Page was a source for the CIA would have ‘drastically’ changed how the bureau handled the FISA applications.”
The warrants against Page were used to fuel the media and anti-Trump movement’s claims that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, even though a years-long, multi-million dollar special counsel investigation found no such evidence. The entire story was bolstered by media outlets reporting anonymous sources that didn’t even appear to have direct knowledge of the investigation or any of the allegations, referred to only as “sources familiar with the matter.” After the story was revealed to be false, media outlets and politicians stopped bring it up, but never had to answer for their repeated false claims.
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