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RussiaGate: FBI Lawyer Expected To Plead Guilty To Altering FISA. Is This Really Justice and Will He?

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Kevin Clinesmith

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.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 2.45.28 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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