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Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty in Review of Russia Inquiry

  • August 14, 2020

Mr. Clinesmith’s lawyers also argued that their client did not try to hide the C.I.A. email from other law enforcement officials as they sought the final renewal of the Page wiretap. Mr. Clinesmith had provided the unchanged C.I.A. email to Crossfire Hurricane agents and the Justice Department lawyer drafting the original wiretap application.

Mr. Clinesmith had also urged investigators to send any information about an informant’s meeting in October 2016 with Mr. Page, including any exculpatory statements, to the Justice Department lawyer drafting the wiretap application. Mr. Clinesmith said this was “probably the most important” information to provide to the lawyer drafting the wiretap application.

Mr. Clinesmith was among the F.B.I. officials whom Mr. Mueller removed from the Russia investigation after Mr. Horowitz found messages they had exchanged expressing political animus against Mr. Trump. Shortly after Mr. Trump’s election victory, Mr. Clinesmith texted another official: “I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost.”

In another text, he wrote, “viva le resistance.”

Mr. Clinesmith told the inspector general that he was expressing his personal views but did not let them affect his work.

Mr. Clinesmith also argued against the prospect of wiretapping another former Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, who served two weeks in jail on a charge of lying to the F.B.I., according to the Horowitz report. The inspector general said the bureau never sought to surveil him.

The prosecution of Mr. Clinesmith is just one aspect of Mr. Durham’s expansive investigation. He has also been examining the intelligence community’s most explosive conclusion about Russian interference in the 2016 election: that President Vladimir V. Putin intervened to benefit Mr. Trump.

Mr. Durham has also been scrutinizing the F.B.I.’s use in the wiretap applications of a notorious dossier that was compiled by a British former intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. “The F.B.I. has been, and will continue to be, fully cooperative with Mr. Durham’s review,” a press representative for the bureau said in a statement. “This includes providing documents and assigning personnel to assist his team.”

Mr. Durham, who has previously investigated F.B.I. and C.I.A. abuses, has not tipped his hand at what he has found, though Mr. Barr has said some of the findings are “troubling.” Mr. Durham has said in a rare statement that he disagreed with some of Mr. Horowitz’s conclusions about how and why the F.B.I. opened the inquiry in the summer of 2016.

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