Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced Friday to one year of probation and 400 hours of community service for altering an email during the Russia investigation that was used as grounds for the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Back in August, Clinesmith pleaded guilty to “one count of making a false statement within both the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the U.S. government, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”
Clinesmith, who worked at the FBI for four years, had altered the email in the beginning stages of the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
He changed another official’s June 2017 email to say that Page was “not a source” for the CIA. In a memo, however, the agency had previously informed investigators that Page from 2008 to 2013 was an “operational contact” for it and provided information about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers. Page has said, too, that he was a source for the agency.
Friday’s Clinesmith sentencing is so far the only criminal charge related to Special Counsel John Durham‘s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. The investigation began in May 2019 after then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his yearlong Russia investigation, which produced no evidence of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Back in December, then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham as special counsel to continue the investigation into Mueller’s probe, which conservatives and former President Donald Trump himself have accused of being a “witch hunt” motivated by political bias.
While sentencing him to probation and community service on Friday, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg gave Clinesmith no fine. The judge said that Clinesmith losing his job and being at the center of massive media attention had caused him to suffer.
During his Friday sentencing hearing, Clinesmith told the court he was “ashamed” of his actions, stating that they had “harmed the very institutions that I cherish and admire.”
“I have a duty to take responsibility for my actions and mistakes,” he also said.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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AOC and Elon Musk Spar on Twitter Over Intelligence and Achievements
In a heated exchange on Twitter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk clashed over intelligence and accomplishments, sparking a social media debate that drew in prominent conservative figures.
The confrontation began when AOC took a swipe at House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, referencing a social media meme about “girl math” that humorously critiques financial reasoning. Ocasio-Cortez used the meme to criticize McCarthy’s political decisions and actions, igniting a political conversation.
Conservative influencer Ashley St. Clair quickly joined the discussion, sharing a video clip of Ocasio-Cortez discussing immigration at Ellis Island during the early 20th century. St. Clair challenged Ocasio-Cortez’s comparison of historical immigration to the current migrant crisis, leading to a broader debate.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, took the opportunity to weigh in with a comment that escalated the dispute. Musk simply stated, “She’s just not that smart.” This remark triggered a robust response from Ocasio-Cortez, who listed her accomplishments as a rebuttal to Musk’s criticism.
I wasn’t born rich and became the youngest woman in American history to be elected to Congress.
Then I investigated Cohen, authored the largest FEMA funeral assistance program in history and led creation of a US Climate Corps to create tens of thousands of new jobs.
Stay mad 💁🏽♀️ https://t.co/EDsPGs8Bx6
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 27, 2023
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that she wasn’t born into wealth and highlighted her historic election to Congress as the youngest woman in American history to achieve such a feat. She also emphasized her involvement in investigations, such as those related to Michael Cohen, as well as her role in authoring the largest FEMA funeral assistance program in history. Furthermore, she touted her leadership in the creation of a U.S. Climate Corps, aimed at generating tens of thousands of new jobs.
Her response concluded with a dismissive “Stay mad,” directed at Musk, indicating her willingness to stand her ground in the face of criticism.
This exchange prompted further commentary from conservative figures, with actor and conservative Dean Cain challenging the adequacy of Ocasio-Cortez’s response. Ashley St. Clair questioned the authenticity of Ocasio-Cortez’s Bronx roots, while Chris Brunet, a contributing editor for The American Conservative magazine, criticized her for not addressing the issue of illegal immigration.
According to reports from Fox News, Conservative influencer Harrison Krank also chimed in, downplaying Ocasio-Cortez’s accomplishments by referencing Nancy Pelosi’s previous remark that even a “glass of water with a (D) next to it” could have been elected in her district.
The Twitter feud between Ocasio-Cortez and Musk, along with the involvement of prominent conservative voices, exemplifies the polarized nature of contemporary political discourse in the digital age.
As the debate rages on, it remains to be seen whether any common ground can be found or if this exchange will simply add fuel to the ongoing ideological firestorm.
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