So far we have said nothing about Kevin Clinesmith’s guilty plea, which illustrates the fact that these days, the news is impossible to keep up with. Clinesmith, as you probably remember, was an FBI lawyer, an assistant general counsel assigned to the Bureau’s National Security and Cyber Law branch in Washington. In that capacity, he supported FBI investigations, including Crossfire Hurricane. Clinesmith was instrumental in submitting some, at least, of the fraudulent FISA applications to spy on Carter Page.
Of all of the Obama administration loyalists who contributed to the Russia collusion hoax, Clinesmith is the one most obviously guilty of a felony: he altered an email he received from the CIA to say that Carter Page was NOT a CIA source, when in fact the email said Page WAS a CIA source, and submitted that fake document to the federal court in order to obtain a FISA warrant. That is worth five years in prison and, of course, the end of his legal career. Clinesmith’s guilty plea is significant, in part, because he may be willing to implicate others who are higher in the DOJ chain of command. More about that later.
Andy, as usual, focuses on legal issues. He explains Clinesmith’s felony clearly:
As I describe above, in the actual email, the CIA liaison said:
My recollection is that [Page] was or is . . . [digraph] but the [documents] will explain the details.
Clinesmith altered it (as I now highlight in bold italics) to say:
My recollection is that [Page] was or is … [digraph] and not a source but the [documents] will explain the details.
It is hard to imagine a more blatant fraud on the court. Andy points out that in all four Page FISA applications, in which the FBI claimed that Page was likely a spy collaborating with the Russians, the agency failed to tell the court the obviously relevant fact–which it knew–that Page had been working with the CIA for some years vis-a-vis Russia.
He also notes the almost incredible dishonesty of Adam Schiff–one would say incredible, except that it is Adam Schiff–in the “report” that he produced in January 18. Here you really need to read the whole thing, but this conveys the main point:
The Nunes memo contended that the FBI’s surveillance of Page was essentially baseless and materially dependent on the bogus Steele dossier. [Ed.: Which, of course, turned out to be true.] In an effort to rebut that claim, the Schiff memo highlighted pre-dossier information: “Page’s past relationships with Russian spies.”
“In fact,” Schiff maintained, “the FBI interviewed Page in March 2016 about his contact with Russian intelligence, the very month Donald Trump named him a foreign-policy adviser.” Nowhere did the now chairman of the Intelligence Committee mention that Page had been reporting his past relationships with Russian spies to the CIA as an operational source. To the contrary, those past relationships were emphasized as a basis, independent of the Steele dossier, to believe that Page and, indeed, the Trump campaign and Donald Trump himself, were in cahoots with the Putin regime.
Schiff’s corruption is almost impossible for a normal person to comprehend.
Mollie Hemingway takes a different but equally important approach. She puts Clinesmith’s guilty plea in the context of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 434-page report, which first revealed Clinesmith’s crime and documented far wider corruption within the Department of Justice.
Mollie points out how Democratic Party reporters have tried to downplay the significance of Clinesmith’s crime:
Another falsehood uncritically parroted by the New York Times reporter Adam Goldman, who was previously awarded a Pulitzer for his role in spreading the damaging Russia collusion theory, was that Clinesmith had merely “made a mistake while trying to clarify facts for a colleague.” The claim, pushed in the second paragraph of the story, is highly at odds with the litany of facts laid out in the Horowitz report and the charging document.
The Crossfire Hurricane team had already been notified by the CIA on August 17, 2016, of Page’s assistance in Russian-related matters. Page himself had told the FBI’s “Confidential Human Source” of his assistance to the CIA, and that had also been reported back to the FBI. But only when Page publicly stated that he’d been a U.S. intelligence source did the FBI revisit the issue, just before the third and final application renewal was set to be filed.
Details–many, many more details–at the link. Mollie sums up the corrupt role played by Democratic Party media:
In large part because of their role as co-conspirators in the Russia collusion hoax, the media move to downplay the facts surrounding the hoax even when they must be conceded, such as when individuals involved plead guilty to crimes, or when reports from independent investigators catalogue 17 major errors and omissions.
That all four the applications to spy on Page failed to include the key exonerating information of his role as a source to U.S. intelligence is major news, even as the Pulitzer winners try to pretend otherwise.
The most pressing question at the moment is whether Clinesmith will implicate higher-ups in his crime. One would assume that no lawyer would commit an offense so blatant as to alter an email from the CIA and then use it to obtain, fraudulently, a warrant to spy on an American citizen, without assurance that he enjoys protection from the top. We can take that as a given.
But two questions remain. First, how high up the food chain can Clinesmith go? If we analogize the Obama Department of Justice to the Mafia, it is safe to assume that Clinesmith’s orders came from someone relatively far down the totem pole. Loretta Lynch, James Comey, et al. would not have compromised themselves by personally authorizing perjury, just as the top Mafia boss does not deal directly with the hit man. Whom can Clinesmith implicate, assuming he is willing to talk? We have no idea.
Second, will Clinesmith benefit more by talking or by remaining silent? Again, using the Mafia as an analogy, most Mafiosis who are caught don’t squeal on higher-ups. They know that if they stay silent and serve their prison term, they will be taken care of when they regain their freedom. Kevin Clinesmith may be in the same position. Prosecutors can urge the court to give him a lighter sentence in exchange for cooperation, but they can’t make his crime go away, and they can’t do anything for Clinesmith when he gets out of prison. At that point he will be a disbarred lawyer, a man without a career.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, can take care of him lavishly and I expect would be willing to do so in return for his silence. So silence may be the better bet. We know, too, that Clinesmith is a loyal if not fanatical Democrat, a self-described member of the “resistance” to our lawfully elected president. We may begin to find out what Clinesmith is able and willing to say when he appears in court in connection with his guilty plea.
All of these events occur in the context of the Durham investigation, whose long-awaited report must be coming soon. Traditionally, DOJ does not release a report or announce indictments within 60 days of an election, where such action might have political consequences. I think it virtually certain that Durham will respect that tradition, meaning that his report will issue by September 4 or else not until after the election.
By which time, of course, it will be much too late. But then, it is probably too late already. The wholly unsupported and frankly insane Trump-Russia narrative, cooked up out of nothing on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and propagated by the Democratic Party media, has taken hold. And we live in a world of narratives, not a world of truth, thanks in large part to our utterly corrupt press. The Russia collusion hoax was the biggest scandal in American history, but it will be left to a future generation to take its full measure.