By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former FBI lawyer will plead guilty to falsifying a document as part of a federal probe into the origins of an investigation into possible contacts between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, an attorney for the former FBI lawyer said on Friday.
The former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, will admit he changed an email from the CIA that was used in seeking renewed court permission in 2017 for a secret wiretap on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the New York Times reported.
“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Justin Shur, a lawyer for Clinesmith, told Reuters in an email.
“It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility,” Shur added.
Prosecutors were not expected to reveal any evidence that shows a broader conspiracy that would cast doubt on the decision by the Obama Administration to open a Russia investigation, according to the Times.
But after Clinesmith’s guilty plea was announced, President Trump suggested further similar cases were in the works.
“That’s just the beginning, I would imagine, because what happened should never happen again,” Trump said on Friday, describing Clinesmith as a “corrupt FBI attorney”.
“The fact is they spied on my campaign and they got caught. And you’ll be hearing more,” Trump said.
Clinesmith wrote texts expressing opposition to President Trump, according to the Times, which said Trump is likely to tout Clinesmith’s anticipated guilty plea as evidence the Russia investigation initiated by the administration of President Barack Obama was illegitimate and politically motivated.
According to a criminal information filed in Federal court in Washington D.C. on Friday, Clinesmith altered an email from another unnamed government agency, believed to be the CIA, to say that an unnamed individual, believed to be Page, “was not a source,” even though an email from the other government agency did not say that.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr predicted there would be a “development” on Friday in the investigation by John Durham, a Connecticut-based federal prosecutor whom Barr named to investigate the origins of federal investigations into alleged contacts between Trump advisors and Russia in 2016.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Franklin Paul, Chris Reese and David Gregorio)