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Friday, August 14, 2020
Durham probe: Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in first criminal case arising from review, sources say
was referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department's inspector
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to
making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S.
Attorney John Durham's review of the investigation into links
between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, two sources close to the matter
tell Fox News.
Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by
the Justice Department's inspector general's office, which
conducted its own review of the Russia investigation. Specifically, the
inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email
about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to say that he was "not a
source" for another government agency.
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page
Page has said he was a source for
the CIA. The DOJ relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final
renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence
Clinesmith is being charged in federal court in
Washington and is expected to plead guilty to one count of making a false
statement, his attorney Justin Shur told The Associated Press.
U.S. Attorney John Durham
Durham was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr last
year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, shortly
after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his years-long
investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians to influence
the 2016 presidential election.
Durham’s timeline was focused on July 2016, when the
FBI’s original Russia probe began, through the appointment of Mueller in May
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal
conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian
officials during the 2016 election, though the question of whether Trump
obstructed justice was left open in the final report.
Attorney General Bill Barr
The development Friday comes amid much speculation, and
even a tip-off by Barr, who said on Fox News’ “Hannity” that there would be a
“development” in the investigation, teasing that it wouldn’t be
“earth-shattering,” but would be “an indication that things are moving along at
the proper pace as dictated by the facts in this investigation.”
“There are two different things going on,” Barr said. “I
said the American people need to know what actually happened, we need to get
the story of what happened in 2016 and ’17 out. That will be done.”
Barr also said that “if people crossed the line, if
people involved in that activity violated criminal law, they will be charged.”
Barr touted Durham as an “independent” and “highly
experienced” man, and said his investigation is “pursuing apace,” despite
delays he blamed in part on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Associated Press contributed to this
Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeSingman.