Jan 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-FBI lawyer sentenced to 12-months probation in Durham investigation

FBI headqaurters

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service on Friday after pleading guilty to altering an email used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the 2016 Russia investigation.

Why it matters: Clinesmith is thus far the only person to be convicted in special counsel John Durham investigation's into the origins of the Russia probe, which has been ongoing since May 2019.

  • The Justice Department wanted six months in prison for Clinesmith, but his attorneys successfully argued that probation would be more appropriate, the Washington Post notes.
  • The Durham investigation also revealed anti-Trump messages from Clinesmith that resulted in a two-week suspension. He apologized for altering the email in Page's surveillance warrant and said he was "truly ashamed."

The big picture: Former President Trump and his allies have long claimed that the Durham investigation would result in high-profile indictments of Obama-era intelligence officials, who they allege orchestrated the Russia "collusion" narrative to take down Trump.

  • Trump's demands that Durham produce a report before the November election were one of the reasons that the president's relationship with former Attorney General Bill Barr deteriorated.
  • Barr appointed Durham as a special counsel in December so that he could continue his investigation even after President Biden took office.
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