Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in first criminal case arising from Durham review of Russia probe
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to making a false statement in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review of the Russia investigation.
The FBI is being “fully cooperative” with U.S. Attorney John Durham in his investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, according to officials familiar with the bureau's involvement.
In the first charges related to Durham's months-long investigation, it was revealed Friday that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case as part of Durham’s review.
DURHAM PROBE: EX-FBI LAWYER TO PLEAD GUILTY IN FIRST CRIMINAL CASE ARISING FROM REVIEW, SOURCES SAY
An FBI official told Fox News on Friday that Director Christopher Wray has been working with Durham and Attorney General Bill Barr throughout the investigation, and will be deferential to any criminal investigation conducted by Durham.
“Under Director Wray's leadership, the FBI has been, and will continue to be, fully cooperative with Mr. Durham's review,” an FBI spokesperson said Friday. “This includes providing documents and assigning personnel to assist his team.”
Clinesworth no longer works at the FBI. He resigned before an internal disciplinary investigation was completed.
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. 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 Surveillance Act.
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.
"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," Shur later said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Wray and the FBI have cooperated with Durham, and Barr has touted his “responsiveness” in the last several months.
Wray has condemned the past practices at the bureau, which lead to FISA warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, calling the conduct “unacceptable and unrepresentative” of the bureau.”
Following the release of the Justice Department inspector general’s report last year, Wray ordered more than 40-plus corrective actions to the FISA process.
An FBI official told Fox News that the bureau remains confident that the actions will fully address the misconduct revealed by the inspector general last year.
Also this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Wray is committed to “holding accountable” those who may have violated the law in the origins of the Russia probe “sooner rather than later.”
Graham, R-S.C., whose committee is investigating the origins of the Russia probe, including abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, the unmasking process, said he spoke with Wray Thursday morning.
“I had a very good discussion this morning with FBI Director Wray about providing witnesses and documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee related to our oversight of Crossfire Hurricane, related FISA abuses and the subsequent Mueller investigation,” Graham said in a statement.
Wray, the senator said, would balance the needs of bureau employees' privacy with the need for public transparency.
Graham’s comments were made as several congressional probes investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, and as Durham conducts a similar investigation.
Earlier this week, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., subpoenaed the FBI and Wray for documents related to his panel's Russia probe.
Last month, Graham said he “absolutely” will call former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to testify before his panel as part of its ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.
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