Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith

Kevin Clinesmith worked on the surveillance order for Carter Page as part of an investigation into the Russia investigation. This is the first criminal action in the investigation into how intelligence officials gathered information on the Trump campaign and Russia.

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to one charge of altering an email to another official in 2017 that said former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page was not a previous government source, when he was. 

Clinesmith worked on the surveillance order for Carter Page as part of an investigation into the Russia investigation. 

Responses To The Plea

Clinesmith’s attorney Justin Shur said, “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.”

Attorney General Bill Barr previewed the plea Thursday night on Fox News, telling Sean Hannity, “you know, it’s not an earth-shattering development, but it is an indication that things are moving along at the proper pace, as dictated by the facts in this investigation.” 

The President began his Friday news briefing by acknowledging Clinesmith’s plea, stating, “I would imagine what happened should never happen again, so he is pleading guilty. Terrible, terrible thing. The fact is that they spied on my campaign, and they got caught.” 

Background Information For The Investigation

Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead an investigation into the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the Russia investigation two weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation.

Recently, Durham’s team interviewed former FBI general counsel during the Russia investigation James Baker, and they brought him back for follow-up questions. Former CIA Director John Brennan and James Clapper, people who Trump pushed to be questioned, have yet to be interviewed.

Durham remains silent as his investigation progresses, with no further comment on the guilty plea from Clinesmith. Bill Barr said he hopes to release some information from the Durham investigation before the November election, but that the investigation itself may continue past it. Kevin Clinesmith served as an FBI lawyer from 2014-2019.