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Archive for December 4th, 2020

Weekend Series on Crime: Central America’s Most Violent Gang

DOJ Calls for Prison Sentence for Ex-FBI Attorney Clinesmith Who Altered Email in FISA Request

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is seeking a prison sentence for the former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty in August to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Kevin Clinesmith admitted he doctored the email, which was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). 

Attorneys with special counsel John Durham are calling on a sentence of between two to six months, saying in a court filing that the case “filed public disgust of the FBI and entire” FISA program, The Washington Post reports.

“An attorney — particularly an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel — is the last person that FBI agents or this Court should expect to create a false document,” prosecutors Anthony Scarpelli and Neeraj N. Patel wrote. “This Court’s sentence should be designed, in part, to send a powerful message to the community that this type of conduct — falsifying information to hide facts from a court — will not be tolerated.”

Sentencing is set for Dec. 10. Clinestmith faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but the sentencing guidelines call for zero to six months behind bars. 

Clinestmith’s attorneys are requesting probation and community service. 

“By altering a colleague’s email, he cut a corner in a job that required far better of him. He failed to live up to the FBI’s and his own high standards of conduct,” lead Clinesmith defense attorney Justin V. Shur wrote in a sentencing request.

Clinestmith’s guilty plea stems from the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith admitted he was guilty but said he believed at the time that his statement about Page was true.

Trump Slams Barr for Refusing to Make Baseless Claims about Election Fraud

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

The chummy relationship between President Trump and Attorney General William Barr has soured since the nation’s top law enforcement official contradicted the president’s baseless claims about widespread election fraud. 

At a White House event on Thursday, Trump complained about Barr, saying “He hasn’t done anything” about voter fraud, NBC News reports.

Trump declined to say whether he still has confidence in his attorney general. 

“Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump said. “They should be looking at all of this fraud. This is not civil. He thought it was civil. This is not civil. This is criminal stuff. This is very bad, criminal stuff.” 

Trump has not ruled out firing Barr, sources told NBC News

Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the DOJ has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

A few hours later, Trump met with Barr, and the lengthy meeting was “contentious,” CNN reports.

Trump and his lawyers have not shown any evidence of widespread voter fraud or irregularities, but that hasn’t stopped them from claiming the election was stolen from the president.