RussiaGate: FBI Lawyer Expected To Plead Guilty To Altering FISA. Is This Really Justice and Will He?
The FBI lawyer that admitted to altering the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant that gave the bureau permission from the secret court to spy on a former Trump campaign advisor is expected to enter a guilty plea Wednesday at the federal court in Washington D.C.
But what does this really mean? And will he?
FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to making a false statement in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant. It is the first criminal case coming from the years long investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into President Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign.
In fact, Clinesmith failed to include in the FISA that former Trump campaign volunteer and advisor Carter Page had been cleared by the CIA and had in fact, been a trusted asset for the agency. The failure to include that information led to the court’s decision to allow the bureau to spy on Page, all the while the bureau knew that Page was not an asset of the Russian government but instead, he was a known asset of the United States.
Carter, whom this reporter has interviewed numerous times, recently stated that this is the first step toward justice. His life was turned upside down, his reputation smeared and when false information regarding Carter was leaked to mainstream media outlets early on his life was threatened. Still, this is the first time that anyone may be paying the price for an attempted coup of a U.S. president.
My concern is that those who directed this investigation, meaning those senior Obama officials, will not be charged with any crimes. I’m expected, like the rest of America, to believe that something will happen. We’ve been waiting for four years, while Trump campaign officials and those close to him have been dragged through the judicial system and their reputations sullied by main outlets that have rarely ever written a correction to any of their stories.
Over the past four years investigations conducted by Congress, the Justice Department Inspector General and a handful of journalists uncovered that FBI officials had no basis – meaning no predicate – to investigate Trump or his campaign.
The entire investigation and the continuing targeting of Trump and his administration were politically motivated and predicated on lies, Republican congressional investigators, senior lawmakers and former U.S. officials have told this reporter.
“Obama officials weaponized the system to target Trump and the system itself is mired in corruption so you tell me is anyone going to be held accountable,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official. “The only way anyone gets held accountable is if the DOJ lives up to lady justice and that doesn’t appear to be likely.”
Clinesmith is only one of numerous FBI officials that were part of the bureau’s Washington Field Office and New York Field Office investigators looking into the Trump campaign. The malfeasance has been wide spread and senior level FBI officials have been fired, retired or have decided to unexpectedly leave their long careers at the bureau.
However, none have been indicted. These bureaucratic careerists who targeted a President have instead sold books or taken jobs as contributors for major television cable networks.
Fired FBI Director James Comey, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and retired CIA Director John Brennan [all involved in the FBI’s and intelligence community’s investigation into Trump] have all written books and allegedly received big advancements.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was discovered to have leaked the information on the January, 2017 debriefing of the dodgy dossier and its malicious contents to CNN reporter Jake Tapper, is now working for CNN.
In fact, the investigation was, according to a mountain of evidence, concocted by false information compiled into a dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to investigate a political opponent. His dossier has been discovered to be based on Russian disinformation and completely false evidence that smeared Trump and all those who supported him.
Prosecutor and columnist Andrew McCarthy wrote a recent piece for National Review regarding Clinesmith that I tend to agree with and it raises a number of concerns:
Is Kevin Clinesmith willing to allocute? Is he willing to admit without reservation that he deceived his FBI colleagues and a federal court? The lack of clear answers to those questions is almost certainly the sticking point — the reason why, to this moment, there is only a false-statement chargeagainst the former Bureau lawyer, not a false-statement guilty plea.
When it comes time to allocute, the court must ensure that the accused acknowledges committing the acts alleged and, just as significantly, doing so with the level of criminal intent prescribed in the relevant penal statute — the mens rea of the crime. If the accused does not admit guilt, and evince that he is doing so voluntarily and in full awareness of the possible consequences, then the judge should not accept the guilty plea.
After all, such a plea involves a waiver of constitutional and statutory rights — to due process, to putting the prosecution to its burden of proving all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, to appeal. The plea further subjects the accused to potential imprisonment and significant fines; and the allocution itself could subject the accused to further prosecution for perjury if he lies while under oath.
It will be interesting to see what happens today in the courtroom with Clinesmith but if the Justice Department believes prosecuting those at the FBI’s bottom of the barrel will be enough for the American people, those charged with the prosecutions will be sadly mistaken and Justice will not be served.
In fact, if those former senior Obama officials are not held accountable then I believe that Lady Justice has left our shores.