The New York Times has revealed that the "low-level lawyer" under criminal investigation for allegedly doctoring materials used to obtain renewals of the Carter Page surveillance warrant is Kevin Clinesmith - who worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe, was part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, and interviewed Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.
Clinesmith, a 37-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law, "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," according to the report.
Mr. Clinesmith included this altered email in a package that he compiled for another F.B.I. official to read in preparation for signing an affidavit that would be submitted to the court attesting to the facts and analysis in the wiretap application.
The details of the email are apparently classified and may not be made public even when the report is unveiled. -New York Times
In other words, we won't get to see whatever the FBI used to trick the FISA court into granting Page's renewals.
Clinesmith, a former attorney with the FBI's National Security and Cyber Law Branch while working under FBI's top lawyer, James Baker, resigned two months ago after he was interviewed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horrowitz's office. Horrowitz in turn sent a criminal referral to US Attorney John Durham, who was tasked with investigating the Obama DOJ's conduct surrounding the 2016 US election.
The referral appears to at least be part of the reason that Durham's inquiry was elevated from an administrative review to a criminal investigation, according to the report. The findings are set to be revealed on December 9, when Horowitz will release his long-awaited report, which Trump's allies believe will reveal an effort to undermine his 2016 campaign.
In addition to Clinesmith's fabricated FISA evidence, the FBI used an unverified dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele, paid for in part by the Clinton campaign via law firm Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS, in their pursuit of Carter Page. The agency has claimed in court filings that the Steele Dossier was not used in warrant appplications, affidavits or courtroom evidene - but was used in "criminal proceedings."
The Conservative Treehouse notes of Clinesmith:
(1) While Clinesmith, as a normal function of his FBI job, did not report to Peter Strzok, when the teams were assembled for MYE, Crossfire Hurricane, and Robert Mueller investigation, Clinesmith DID work directly for Peter Strzok. When the teams were selected, Kevin Clinesmith reported to Peter Strzok. Therefore when the inappropriate behavior was identified; and when the action of manipulating FISA evidence was done; Kevin Clinesmith was reporting directly to FBI supervisory agent Peter Strzok.
(2) Kevin Clinesmith remained in the FBI during the entirety of the Horowitz investigation. He was not released until the investigation was complete and the draft report was submitted. So the FBI knew they had a problem with Clinesmith back in February of 2018 and he was allowed to continue work until September of this year. It would seem obvious he was being monitored.
(3) Clinesmith’s status during the investigation aligns with another Main Justice employee also connected to the FISA process who was similarly in position throughout and also left in September 2019. That would be Tashina Guahar.
According to the Washington Post, however, Horowitz has concluded that the altered email "did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application."
Mr. Trump’s allies have complained about how the Justice Department used information from the Steele dossier in the wiretap applications. Along with evidence from other sources, the filings cited some information from Mr. Steele’s dossier about meetings that Mr. Page was rumored to have had with Kremlin representatives during a trip to Russia that year.
Still, people familiar with questions asked by Mr. Horowitz’s investigators have suggested that he is likely to conclude that the filings exaggerated Mr. Steele’s track record in terms of the amount of value that the F.B.I. derived from information he supplied in previous investigations. The court filings in the Page wiretap application said his material was “used in criminal proceedings,” but it was never part of an affidavit, search warrant or courtroom evidence. -New York Times
The Times has suggested that Horowitz will criticize FBI officials involved in the investigations but will ultimately absolve them of wrongdoing.
What's more, the Times says that Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud - a self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation who fed Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, was "not an FBI informant."
The Times is using purposefully misleading language here, as Mifsud was never accused of being an FBI asset.
Gotta love the straw-manning here. The FBI claimed without evidence that Mifsud was a Russian asset. He’s actually a Western intel asset (not an FBI informant, which nobody credible has claimed). Halper was the corrupt FBI informant. https://t.co/xGEi0BLLv0— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 22, 2019
Viva la resistance
Clinesmith was identified by Horowitz as one of several FBI officials who harbored animus towards President Trump, after which he was kicked off the Mueller Russia investigation in February 2018. Two other FBI officials removed for similar reasons were Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both of whom also worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations, and both of whom have similarly left the bureau.
On November 9, 2016 - the day after Trump won the election, Clinesmith texted another FBI employee "My god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff," adding "So, who knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do."
Then on November 22, 2016, he said "Hell no" when asked by another FBI attorney if he had changed his views on Trump.
"Viva la resistance," he added.
When asked to explain himself, Clinesmith told Horowitz: "It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have," adding "But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI."
A professional document fabricator. We're sure he'll be a GoFundMe millionaire by tomorrow.