I saw that the former FBI official that the Department of Justice Inspector General has referred for criminal prosecution for falsifying documents related to the FBI’s FISA application was identified yesterday as Kevin Clinesmith. (So, along with the complaints about Lisa Page possibly altering Flynn’s 302, that brings us to two instances of FBI agents altering documents submitted to courts.) The media (CNN, Washington Post, the New York Times) routinely referred to Clinesmith as a “low-level” FBI employee. I suggested that they often do this when they want to downplay some narrative, and that the person in leaked reports was probably not “low-level” at all. And guess what….
Clinesmith is anything but a “low-level” FBI attorney. According to the Inspector General’s earlier review of the Clinton email investigation – which devoted an entire section to Clinesmith’s apparent political bias against President Trump, which like Strzok and Page was well documented in his instant messages with co-workers – Clinesmith played a supporting role in the Clinton email investigation and was a primary attorney for the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Clinesmith was then hand-picked by Robert Mueller to serve on his team investigating the Trump campaign. As with Strzok – who also magically landed on the Mueller team, along with Lisa Page – Clinesmith was forced to leave the Special Counsel’s office after the Inspector General showed Mueller’s people the following messages, among others. This conversation took place on November 9th, after Clinton lost the election to Trump. Clinesmith is “FBI Attorney 2.” (source: page 446 and following in the report)
“Plus my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.” There are no doubt many people on the left who think Clinesmith did nothing wrong. They’ve been told for so long that everyone they disagree with is literally Hitler that a crooked FBI lawyer is probably not that bad in the grand scheme of things. The ends justify the means.
The two FBI attorneys then went on to talk about how Trump was probably going to take away their federal pensions.
Of course, you can see Mueller’s former deputy on MSNBC any day of the week saying essentially the same sort of things, even openly contradicting the findings of the Mueller report.
The IG’s take on all this… It was probably all meant in humor. They weren’t being serious.
Clinesmith was reassigned to the FBI after the IG and Special Counsel saw these messages. He allegedly decided to resign after internal investigations discovered he had altered FISA documents.
It will be interesting to see what representations this crew made to the FISA court about the origins of the Steele dossier. Did they tell the court that they knew that the contents were funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, to the tune of many millions of dollars? Did they tell the court that a senior official at DOJ’s wife was working indirectly for the Clinton campaign digging up dirt on Trump and forwarding batshit conspiracy theories to her husband? The same Clinton who is now going around calling Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent?
I’m going to guess that the IG report will punt on all of this. This is what DOJ does. They talk about how Clinton’s people knew she was being hacked by foreign agents, that she was smashing phones and other devices every three months or so. They give everyone related to her immunity and allow her chief of staff (party to all of this) to serve as her attorney. Then they shrug and say everything is above-board, increasing the amount of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum every election cycle that just want to burn the whole system down.
I have said before that we need a Sarbanes-Oxley Act for government service. The Inspector General publishing reports that an incestuous group of officials with vile crap like this in their background were coincidentally picked collectively over and over to handle the most politically sensitive investigations in the Bureau’s history, and then offer conclusions that are essentially a shrug, has nuked the FBI and the Department of Justice’s credibility with at least half of the country. It’s bad enough that this stuff happens in the first place. Even worse to see that behavior ratified with inaction.
The damage stuff like this does to the justice system is incredible. How can the FBI and Justice Department function when half of their potential jury pools think (with very good reason) they are corrupt as hell and the justice system is rigged? Or when judges across the country no longer think that the FBI altering the documents submitted for court review is a dangerous hypothetical?
After Enron and WorldCom, the financial industry was turned upside down. How could trust be restored to corporate boards and the accounting profession? The answer was tough new regulations that made it impossible for executives to feign ignorance over what their underlings were up to. We need something akin to that for government.
A bit ironically, today, seven (seven!) “journalists” at Bloomberg News took a leave of absence to join Michael Bloomberg’s campaign, making it explicit that they are political operatives. The editor-in-chief noted that Bloomberg’s opinion arm has always worked closely with Michael Bloomberg, and the news’ outlet’s unsigned editorials have always reflected Michael Bloomberg’s own positions on things. He also noted that the site will “follow its tradition” of not investigating Bloomberg personally, his business dealings, or family foundation. But don’t worry, they also pledge not to investigate Bloomberg’s Democratic rivals too.