The investigation into the FBI’s handling of the 2016 probe of suspected collusion between the Trump campaign and government of Russia is finally yielding results, and that is a good thing for all Americans, regardless of their politics.
As the Associated Press has reported, U.S. Attorney John Durham is charging Kevin Clinesmith in federal court in Washington with one count of making a false statement. Clinesmith has agreed to plead guilty to the charge.
Specifically, Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office for altering an email about Carter Page to indicate Page was “not a source” for the CIA, though he indeed was a source.
The fact that Page was an intelligence source explained several overseas contacts he had made with foreign individuals.
By removing that information the Justice Department could flag those contacts as reason to eavesdrop on Page to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court. If Page was making contact with Russians on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies there would be no need to surveil him.
So out the window went the accurate information and forward went the investigation of Page and, by extension, the Trump campaign.
His attorney Justin Shur told The Associated Press that his client was remorseful.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Shur said. “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.”
Make no mistake, Clinesmith was not an ancillary player in the “Obamagate” scandal. He worked on the initial FBI investigation into the Trump campaign and then was brought on to work alongside Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Trump.
Not only did he alter the FISA documents referring to Carter Page, but Clinesmith also interrogated George Papadopoulos, a then 30-year-old foreign policy adviser and Trump administration hopeful.
In other words, Clinesmith was everywhere.
Will the principle players ever be brought to justice?
He was pulled off of Mueller’s team after some anti-Trump texts were revealed, including one sent hours after the election reading,”I am so stressed about what I could have done differently.” On Nov. 22 he texted, “Viva la Resistance!”
We must hope that Durham’s resolve is steady.
Political forces are pushing against Attorney General Barr and John Durham and those in the media are doing everything they can to ignore the already-stunning revelations.
As Lee Smith wrote in the New York Post: “The tragic fact is that once-prestigious press organizations, including CNN as well as MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, weren’t fooled by the collusion hoax. They were an essential part of it.”
John Durham’s investigation must lead where it may. No presidential campaign or administration should face such targeted persecution from intelligence services. It degrades not only national security but also the sanctity of our democracy.
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