DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate November, 2018. He spoke about how the FBI handled investigations ahead of the 2016 elections. He will release his new report on the FBI's FISA application and its handling of its investigation into Trump on Dec. 9. He will testify again on Dec. 11.

KEY POINTS:

  • FBI officials concerned that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith’s tampered and altered documents to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Warrant will put into question all the evidence gathered to obtain the warrant.
  • Horowitz referred Clinesmith to DOJ Prosecutor John Durham appointed by Attorney General William Barr for further investigation.
  • Other FBI officials will be wrapped up into Clinesmith’s warrant tampering. Who approved the warrants?
  • Criminal Defense Attorney David Schoen says FBI failed to make immediate correction of any materially false statement or any material omission. “Clearly no such correcting submission was made here.”
  • FBI Lawyer Kevin Clinesmith led the interview on George Papadopolous in February, 2017. 
  • Clinesmith was anti-Trump and removed from the Russia investigation.

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s anticipated report will reveal that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Application warrant was tampered with but the significance of that cannot be understated. It means that Horowitz’s discovery will discredit the bureau’s handling of its investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election and it could make any information discovered during the course of seeking approval for the FISA and after ‘fruit of the poisonous tree,” according to numerous sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com.

“Based on what we know, Clinesmith’s tampering of documents appears to have been significant enough to have played a role in the FISA courts decision to grant a warrant to spy on an American, maybe more than one American,” said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. “There is concern among the FBI that all the evidence will come into question, as it should – particularly the case of the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ that the evidence itself is tainted – if that’s true than anything gained from that evidence might also be tainted. This could be a problem for anyone who approved the FISA as well.”

What we now know is that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, allegedly altered an email that FBI officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretaps on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, as first reported by the New York Times and verified by SaraACarter.com. The extent of the alterations in the FISA application is still unknown but it was significant enough for Horowitz to refer Clinesmith to Connecticut Federal Prosecutor John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI’s handling of the probe. Durham’s probe has also expanded to the CIA, of which he has interviewed numerous officers and the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which paid FBI confidential informant Stephan Halper to collect information on several Trump campaign advisors, as first reported by this new site. 

The DOJ obtained three FISA renewal orders on Page. According to the NYT “the paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa, the people briefed on the draft report said.” 

That’s a serious problem, stated the U.S. official. Why? Because Clinesmith’s alterations in the documents played a role in the ability for the FBI to continue to wiretap Page throughout the renewal process.

David Schoen, a criminal defense attorney, told SaraACarter.com that the FISA process requires absolute scrutiny as the defendant, the person targeted by the warrant, is not represented by anyone due to the extraordinary secrecy of the process.

Schoen noted, if an “agent falsifies, materially alters with false information, or makes a material omission in documents relied on to authorize surveillance – and here it was to authorize the most intrusive kind of surveillance by the most secretive court in the land – then any further step in the process and any material obtained by surveillance from the point of his illegal conduct forward is arguably poisoned by the initial illegal materially false alteration or material omission.”

“Moreover, while all courts rely completely on the integrity of the surveillance application and supporting documentation and on the agents presenting them, the FISC must by definition do so to an even greater degree because it is all presented ex parte and the entire process is shrouded in secrecy , but can impact on the privacy of American citizens to the greatest degree imaginable,” he added.

More importantly said Schoen, “the FISC has an express rule of procedure affirmatively requiring the immediate correction of any materially false statement or any material omission. Clearly no such correcting submission was made here.”

Making matters worse, Clinesmith was vehemently anti-Trump, raising significant questions of bias. He was removed in February, 2018, from the Russia investigation, in the same fashion former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the investigation into Trump’s campaign, was removed. Clinesmith’s anti-Trump text messages stated the “crazies have won” and “viva la resistance” in relation to Trump’s presidential victory.

Was Clinesmith a low level FBI attorney? Or did he play a significant role in the early investigation?
George Papadopolous, who was central to the FBI’s investigation into Trump and believes the FBI took a FISA out on him, said no.
On Monday, Papadopolous told Fox and Friends, that Clinesmith was the “attorney who interviewed me from the Department of Justice, I know the New York Times mentioned him as some sort of low level attorney for the DOJ, but I don’t think he was a low level attorney.”

“This individual brought an entire delegation from Washington D.C. to interview me in February, 2017 and we now know he, and some of the others who interviewed me are under criminal investigation,” Papadopolous added. “So I think the report is not going to be as pleasant as many people think it’s going to be for the FBI and its probably going to lead into criminal prosecution that Durham is going to be taking over from him.”

Will the altered evidence collected by Clinesmith taint the rest of the evidence submitted to the court?

Clinesmith was caught. But what happens to the information the FBI collected and who else may have collected information regarding the targets:Papadopolous and Page both foreign policy advisors early on during the Trump campaign. Further, it would stand to reason that any information submitted on former Trump National Security Advisor Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, would also come under scrutiny as well if it was used in any way during the investigation.

Another question that lingers is the FBI’s relationship with its alleged confidential informant Halper, who was a paid contractor for the DOD. He also apparently sent reports to the FBI and those reports would be significant in Durham’s investigation, according to sources.

Halper’s reports may or may not have been used in obtaining the FISA, on Page and whose reports may now come into question by the Justice Department, said several sources familiar with the Office of Net Assessment and the FBI.

Horowitz’s report is expected to be hundreds of pages long and mostly unredacted.

If that is the case, the majority of information that has been requested by Republican lawmakers but has remained classified on the Russia investigation may be declassified in an effort to get the report out to the American public, according to sources.

A crucial piece of the classified documents would be any exculpatory evidence that wasn’t presented to the FISA court, according to a senior lawmaker. It would in effect, be evidence that would say there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians and may very well be the evidence collected by Halper during his interactions with Trump’s advisors.

In May, Trump gave Barr the authority to declassify the documents, which have been described as four major buckets by Republicans.

On December 9, Horowitz, whose office has remained tight lipped on the matter, is expected to release the report and he will testify before Congress two days later on Dec. 11.


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