Skip to content

Ex-FBI Lawyer Who Pleaded Guilty to Manipulating Evidence to Spy on Trump Campaign Gets Probation

It is one of the most explosive cases of political espionage in modern American history: “Spygate.”

Despite the lying and the leaks from top Obama administration officials, such as from former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan, not to mention former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who is now back in the Biden administration punishment-free, there seems to have been one no-brainer case of wrongdoing that would send an official to prison: The case of Kevin Clinesmith.

Think again. The Associated Press reports that a judge has sentenced Clinesmith, an ex-FBI lawyer who “doctored” a CIA email used as evidence to get a wiretap on then-Trump campaign aide Carter Page, to… probation. Read it and weep:

A former FBI lawyer was sentenced to probation for altering an email that the Justice Department relied on during its surveillance of an aide to President Donald Trump during the Russia investigation.

Kevin Clinesmith apologized for doctoring the email about Carter Page’s relationship with the CIA, saying he was “truly ashamed” of what he had done.

“This conduct is the only stain on the defendant’s character that I’ve been able to discern,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in imposing a sentence of 12 months probation rather than the prison sentence that prosecutors had requested.

Despite assurances that the Durham investigation would bring to justice those that committed wrongdoing against a presidential campaign and private American citizens, this has proven to have been nothing but idle lip service.

As the AP point underscores, Clinesmith is the “only” person charged so far in the much-vaunted Durham special investigation. As a brief bit of backstory, this is what Clinesmith confessed to having done.

The New York Times originally reported in August:

The lawyer, Kevin E. Clinesmith, who was working at the time with the F.B.I.’s Trump-Russia investigation team, admitted to a judge that he had intentionally inserted words into the text of the email, which discussed past relations between the C.I.A. and Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser. […]

At the hearing on Wednesday, which was conducted by videoconference and telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Clinesmith acknowledged that his action met the criteria for an illegal false statement because the original text did not contain the phrase that he added about Mr. Page — “and not a ‘source’” — but also said he believed then that it was true that Mr. Page was not a C.I.A. source.

Unbelievably enough, Clinesmith appears to have committed perjury in his statement about manipulating the email. That is another likely crime that appears will go unpunished.

“At the time, I believed that the information I was providing in the email was accurate,” Clinesmith unconvincingly claimed. “But I am agreeing that the information I inserted into the email was not originally there, and I inserted that information.”

The reaction to the sentencing was swift:

It appears that once again, the Department of Justice cannot be trusted to live up to its own credo.

"*" indicates required fields

Who would you vote for? Trump or DeSantis?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.