While the Justice Department conducts a probe into Crossfire Hurricane, the pieces are slowly coming together in what President Trump says is the biggest political crime in America’s history. Attorney General Bill Barr told Sean Hannity on Thursday that if people “crossed the line and violated criminal law, they will be charged.” And today, a former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to making a false statement in an email during the FBI’s Russia investigation. This is the first criminal charge made in Durham’s investigation.
Kevin Clinesmith, who was an FBI lawyer that worked on the Hillary Clinton email investigation and on Crossfire Hurricane, the internal code name for the Russia investigation during the 2016 campaign, was under investigation for purposely changing materials in order to renew a FISA warrant on Carter Page. According to the report, Clinesmith, “took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author when it was instead his own understanding.” This email was part of a package given to an FBI official in order to get an affidavit submitted to the FISA court.
During the Russia investigation review, Inspector General determined Clinesmith was biased towards President Trump, which led to his removal from the Mueller investigation. Clinesmith resigned from the FBI after his interview with Horowitz, who then sent a referral to John Durham.
Clinesmith’s charge is the first major developments the Department of Justice determines whether Obama’s Justice Department misused their power to spy on American citizens, and if they created the Russia investigation with the purpose to harm President Trump’s campaign, transition, and administration. This charge may be the first of many. The Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Homeland Security Committee have both issued subpoenas to top officials in the federal government who were involved with Crossfire Hurricane. As the investigation reaches its end, there may be serious repercussions for misuse of political power.
While officials at the FBI may have conducted the investigation under the pretense that Clinton would win the investigation, Clinesmith was clearly nervous what would happen after election day. Texting another FBI employee, he said, “My god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff. So, who knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do.”
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