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Ex-FBI lawyer charged with felony, to plead guilty to altering evidence in Russia probe

Kevin Clinesmith will admit he altered a document involving Carter Page's ties to the CIA.

Published: August 14, 2020 12:25pm

Updated: August 14, 2020 3:43pm

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was charged Friday with a felony and has agreed to plead guilty to altering a document in the Russia collusion probe, the first criminal case to be brought in the investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, according to officials and a court document. 

Ahead of his plea, Clinesmith was charged in federal court in Washington D.C. with one count of making a false statement for altering information he had received from the CIA in June 2017 to hide the fact that Trump campaign official Carter Page was a source for the Agency.

The alteration caused the Justice Department to make a false representation to the FISA Court that approved surveillance of Page for nearly a year, the criminal information filed by Durham states.

Clinesmith "did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing and document knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement and entry in a matter before the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch," the court filing said.

You can read the charging document here.

President Trump, who long has argued he and his campaign were the victim of FBI misconduct, immediately weighed in. He called Clinesmith "a corrupt FBI lawyer" and predicted more shoes will drop in Durham's probe.

"That's just the beginning, I would imagine," Trump told a White House briefing Friday afternoon. "...You'll be hearing more."

Clinesmith was expected to plead guilty to the charge as early as Friday afternoon, officials said.

Clinesmith's lawyer issued a statement to The Washington Post apologizing for his conduct.

"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," the lawyer told the Post.

Clinesmith's misconduct was first revealed last December in a Justice Department inspector general report that widely criticized the FBI's conduct in the Russia collusion probe against President Trump. The report said he worked in the FBI general counsel’s office and altered an email to hide the fact that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was a source for the CIA.

The FBI never revealed to the FISA court that authorized surveillance of Page assisted the agency. 

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