As a wide array of Americans await the outcome of an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice probe into the origins of the Russian collusion investigation, the first domino appears to have fallen as a result of the investigation.
According to a recent New York Post report, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to one criminal count of falsifying an email.
Political undertones in the case
Clinesmith it the attorney who reportedly manipulated the content of an electronic message meant to help push through a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application that fueled an investigation into reports of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The news of his expected guilty plea was met with some celebration by conservatives.
Nevertheless, plenty of critics say U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham are playing politics with their pursuit of federal investigators involved in the origins of the FBI probe involving President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Andrew Weissman, who was a prosecutor working on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, issued a statement questioning the motives of those pushing for a case against Clinesmith, as reported by The Hill.
In a tweet directed at Barr, he asked how former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s “confessed lies to the FBI (repeated to the VP)” are “not a crime, but Clinesmith changing an email (the full version of which he also sent to DOJ) is?”
“Understands what he did was wrong”
Although Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, the Justice Department announced its intention earlier this year to drop the case against him.
As for Clinesmith, his attorney continues to argue that he did not intend to break the law.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” said Justin Shur. “It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate.”
The attorney acknowledged, however, that Clinesmith “understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.”
While Durham’s investigators keep reviewing relevant documents, many critics of the Russian collusion probe hope this is just the first major player held accountable for inappropriate or illegal acts.