Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Former FBI advisor expected to plead guilty for falsifying email in Trump campaign probe

Trump speaking in front of the White House sign
President Trump briefs reporters on August 14. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kevin Clinesmith, who gave legal support to the FBI as it investigated ties between President Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, is expected to plead guilty to falsifying a key document in the agency's probe, the New York Times reports, citing court documents made public on Friday.

Why it matters: The charging documents do not show any evidence that Clinesmith's actions were part of a broad conspiracy to undermine the president, per the Times.

  • However, Trump doubled down on his claim that the FBI spied on his campaign on Friday, after this first charge from the investigation into the Trump-Russia probe was announced.

Details: Clinesmith, who resigned last year, plans to plead guilty to altering an email from the CIA that investigators "relied on to seek renewed court permission in 2017 for a secret wiretap on the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had at times provided information to the spy agency," the Times reports.

What they're saying: "So, that's just the beginning, I would imagine ... what happened should never happen again," Trump said while opening his Friday press briefing. "So, he is pleading guilty. Terrible thing, terrible thing. Fact is, they spied on my campaign and they got caught. And you'll be hearing more."

  • “Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Clinesmith’s lawyer, Justin Shur, told the Times in a statement. “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. ”

The bottom line: The Justice Department’s independent watchdog last year found "serious performance failures" by some FBI officials, but concluded that the investigation into Trump's campaign was not tainted by political bias.

Go deeper: Barr claims law enforcement officials “spied” on Trump campaign

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