But we don't know the details. Yet.
Boasberg points to a 10-page plea agreement between Clinesmith and DOJ, signed by Clinesmith, and asks if that is the plea agreement Clinesmith intends to be binding. Clinesmith says that is correct.
That 10-page plea agreement has not yet been made available to the public.
12:21 PM · Aug 19, 2020·
For reference, the information is 5 pages long. Unfortunately I can't tell you whether that's meaningful or not. No doubt we'll be hearing more.
UPDATE 1: Commenter Tom Bop updates:
Guilty plea has been entered and accepted by the Court. Sentencing set for Dec. 10, at 11 a.m. Very thorough questioning by Court, and thorough waivers by Clinesmith. Very minimal release conditions.
I pretty much expected this from Boasberg. While he's unquestionably liberal in his politics and policy preferences, his past record seems to show that he's not inclined to introduce partisan preferences into his decisions on the bench. He has also shown seriousness as Chief Judge of the FISC. That's not an endorsement of anything he does in the future--simply my judgment on what we know about him at this point. The fact that Clinesmith's crime hit struck directly at the integrity of the entire FISA regime will be very much on Boasberg's mind unless I'm much mistaken.
The thoroughness of the proceedings indicates to me, for those of us who had some doubts, that Durham was having none of what Clinesmith and Shur had on offer.
UPDATE 2: Shipwreckedcrew takes on a number of matters re what has transpired with this plea. Three of these tweets were before the plea went down, the final one after:
For all who thought Andrew Weissmann was telling you the truth about Clinesmith needing to "admit" or the gov't to assert that Carter Page was a CIA "source", you now know he was lying to you. That was never required under a "false writings" charge.
The email that Clinesmith altered before forwarding to the SSA is the "false writing" and its falsity is established by virtue of the alteration, not the substance of the alteration. It was not what it was reputed to be -- a written response from the CIA.
It was material because the SSA told Clinesmith he wanted the CIA's answer in writing. The "fact" of the writing is the materiality -- not its substance.
Weissmann knows this -- he lied on purpose.
He did so to gaslight followers and to drive the opinion that Durham is doing something improper.
An Obama appointed Judge just went right through the plea and didn't even pause over the fact that Clinesmith said he "thought" the substance of the email as altered was accurate.
12:53 PM · Aug 19, 2020·
What that last comment by SWC means, re Boasberg not even pausing, is that Boasberg dismissed Clinesmith's statement as so irrelevant as not even worth commenting on.
I would add that if Clinesmith is ever called to testify in a trial on any of this, I doubt that that statement about what he "thought" would be admissible. I'll stand corrected if anyone knows better, but I doubt it. It's simply not relevant. What will be relevant is what he pled to.
UPDATE 3: Leslie McAdoo Gordon provides the details of most interest to most readers ("JB" refers to Judge Boasberg):
JB going over the Statement of Facts now. KC agrees he signed it and it is accurate. JB specifically asking about him adding the "and not a source" language to the email and whether that is a false statement. LOOOOOOOONG silence.
Clinesmith saying at the time he thought the information was accurate, but he agrees that he altered the email.
JB just confirms that back to him. Doesn't challenge it. Asks if he's had enough time to talk to his lawyers and whether he's happy with them.
Again, the reason this is a false statement is that the FBI SSA told Clinesmith he wanted written confirmation of the CIA response--meaning, not Clinesmith's verbal opinion but the CIA's written opinion. Instead, Clinesmith falsified the email and sent it to the SSA, purporting to be sending an authentic CIA document--which it no longer was.
As I mentioned in a comment, I believe what was behind this was this: Clinesmith originally intended to not even mention the CIA thing in the 4th renewal, just as had gone down in the three previous applications. However, my understanding is that this SSA was a new case agent and neither Clinesmith nor the others knew whether they could trust him. So they altered the email. I also strongly suspect that someone in authority--Weissmann?--told Clinesmith, Hey, don't worry, Page wasn't an "actual" source the way we mean it so it doesn't really matter if you falsify the email to say what we all know the CIA should've said. I don't, myself, believe Clinesmith's claim. But it doesn't matter for the plea.
UPDATE 4: One more update should just about do it. SWC again, but I'll just quote his conclusion, since most of the article is another rehearsal of what we already know. The conclusion, however, is important for the future--although I have to believe that this has already been gone over by Durham and is the reason Durham agreed to this plea deal:
It remains to be seen whether Clinesmith has anything meaningful to provide to Durham. I suspect he does. It might not be evidence of “criminality” of the actions by either investigators or prosecutors on the Mueller SCO team.
But Clinesmith worked with the Mueller SCO team up until February 2018 — a period of 8 months after Mueller was appointed. He certainly can provide Durham with an “insider’s” account of the conversations and attitudes that existed. There is no privilege that applies.
THAT, in my opinion, is what Weissmann is trying so desperately to prevent from happening.
How could Judge Boasburg, or USA Durham for that matter, let him continue to go through with the plea even after stating, "I thought it was true at the time"? What kind of witness is Clinesmith going to be pulling these sorts of shenanigans at the 11th hour?ReplyDelete
I'm sorry, you have the advantage on me. I haven't seen a transcript of what was said.Delete
If he said that, I suspect that what it means is that some fast talking lawyer told him, hey, you can say he wasn't an "actual" source. And he accepted that, but is now agreeing thoroughly that forgery was totally on himself. That's what matters. He's agreeing to that.
Was not a transcript. I was following tweets from SWC, who in turn was following Leslie McAdoo, who apparently was on the call. I see you've updated since I started typing. So I am not a lawyer though I did take the LSAT and begin the process of applying to law school once. If I follow your understanding of SWC's tweet's and Judge Boasburg's likely jurisprudence in this case, KC's understanding of whether the substance of the email he sent is irrelevant and possibly inadmissable? It's the fact he altered it at all and presented it as a CIA original that is the material lie for purposes of his guilty plea to USC 1001?Delete
Here's a clue:ReplyDelete
>> https://twitter.com/IvanPentchoukov/status/1296135370552283136 <<
Government agrees to not prosecute Clinesmith for any other conduct in the statement of offense.
That implies there are other potential crimes described in the statement of offense.
Sentencing in Dec; implies there isn't much further cooperation required of him.
Don't know if that's good or bad. Could mean Durham does not need his testimony to convict others, or it could mean he's not indicting anyone Clinesmith can testify against.
He could face up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 10.ReplyDelete
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg accepted the government’s recommendation not to detain Clinesmith ahead of his sentencing, but did require him to surrender his passport and imposed travel restrictions.
Leslie McAdoo Gordon was on the horn & did a live Tweet. She reported: "Clinesmith saying at the time he thought the information was accurate, but agrees that he altered the email."ReplyDelete
She then added: "JB [Judge Boasberg] just confirms that back to him. Doesn't challenge it. Asks if he's had enough time to talk with his lawyers and whether he's happy with them."
Why in the world didn't Boasberg challenge Clinesmith's statement??? Sure, Clinesmith admitted he signed and agreed with the Statement of Facts, but c'mon intent is the key. And why didn't the DOJ lawyer pipe up?? The MSM will run wild with Clinesmith's excuse.
The reason is because Clinesmith intended to alter the email and did it. He intended to do it, he did it, and that's what he just pled guilty to doing: making and using a false writing. That's the charge in the information. Boasberg doesn't care what Clinesmith "thought" about anything else. Also, cf. my comments in the Updates.Delete
Correct- to have a defense, he'd have to say something like, "I thought it was my own msg on the screen when I changed it." He seemed contrite and didn't seem to be in weasel mode. It came off has a psychological thing for himself, imo. This is a huge fall for a lawyer with a job like he had!Delete
Clinesmith's explanation for why he did it is really is irrelevant. I'm not a lawyer, but I would have to think that lawyers in particular are drilled into them that it is unethical and illegal to alter evidence. Having done just that and admitted to it, it does not matter one iota why he did it for the purpose of this charge.Delete
With that in mind, what are the other reasons he would go out of his way to make this irrelevant statement?
--narrative. This could be meant to publicly indicate to his co-conspirators that he's still on the team, maybe even that he hasn't given everyone up. Of course, that would be extremely legally risky for him to actually do.
--provide distance between him and the people who pushed the Russia conspiracy. Say he cooperated. He may have done so in a way to implicate others and this is his explanation for why he was not part of the larger conspiracy.
--garner sympathy for sentencing. I'm not sure how far this goes. He's a lawyer and should have known better. In fact, that was his job to know better.
Or maybe some combination of the above and other reasons explains this position. I look forward to the filing of his actual plea agreement.
Mark, thanks for the clarifications and updates. You know the MSM will claim Clinesmith had a "good heart."Delete
Thank you, Mark. I don’t understand the desire on some parts to pretzel this case. It sounds pretty straightforward at this point.Delete
So for those of us in the peanut galleries that need a one sentence bottom line up front answer, the bottom line is that he forged the document, doesn't matter what he intended to accomplish by the forgery, what matters is that he knowingly and willingly passed off his work own work product as the CIA's when he knew the SSA preparing the 3rd FISA renewal warrant on Carter Page had specifically requested a written response from the CIA. Whatever spin he and his lawyer have tried to pull over the last 5 days and whatever Weissman is tweeting is irrelevant, right?ReplyDelete
Clinesmith’s displaying significant enmity toward Trump in his texts could have been a show of intent. He was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Resistance. Not cool.Delete
I think Mr Barr is pretty much the only guy on the planet who can make a course correction for the country. I don't know if he will or not. But I too will help fund a hero's statue if he does.Delete
@Bebe, There were a number of factors--and that was certainly one--that would have made it very, very hard for KC at a trial. Here's another one. Page's cooperation with CIA stopped exactly when his cooperating witness turn with the FBI started. So, IOW, we're talking about an unbroken span of cooperation with intel agencies. Therefore, to try to claim that the CIA cooperation wasn't mentioned in the previous FISAs doesn't really cut it. At a trial all that would come out, Page would testify, Clinesmith would look like the POS that he is.Delete
Does this then mean Adam Goldman (NYT) will begin to find the original Puuuulitzerrr prize box in order to begin to re-pakeage yes, repakeage it to return?ReplyDelete
In the summer of 2016, Carter Page was a key element in the FBI's theory of the crime. The theory was that Page was collaborating with Russian Intelligence to launch an October Surprise that would enable Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Russian Intelligence had stolen lots of computer files that, if revealed, might turn a decisive segment the electorate against Clinton. Page was helping Russian Intelligence to optimize the October Surprise's effect.ReplyDelete
That remained the FBI's theory of the crime at least through Election Day, November 8. After it turned out that no October Surprise happened, then the FBI's theory of the crime might have changed.
It seems to me that a new theory of the crime was that Paul Manafort gave polling information to Russian Intelligence, which then targeted political advertising (e.g. Facebook ads) precisely at battle-ground voters. In other words, the FBI turned its attention from Page to Manafort.
Then, after Trump's victory was confirmed by the actual vote of the Electoral College on December 19, the FBI developed yet another theory of the crime. Now the main culprit was Michael Flynn, who was collaborating with Russian Intelligence to guide President-Elect Trump to initiate new policies that would be beneficial to Russia.
In particular, I think that this was the development of James Comey's reasoning. I think he was a true believer in his Russia-Trump conspiracy theories.
After Comey was fired, Robert Mueller was appointed to conduct the further investigation. I have the impression that Mueller and his gang never believed any of Comey's conspiracy theories. Rather, Mueller and his gang were trying to lure President Trump into an obstruction-of-justice situation that would enable Congress to impeach and remove President Trump from his elected office. A secondary goal was to find Trump associates who could be charged with process crimes and then be pressured into composing accusations against Trump.
Why were Mueller and his gang even renewing the FISA warrant against Page? After all, Page had known since the autumn of 2016 that he was being investigated, and soon he knew even that there was a FISA warrant against him. There was no possibility that he would be caught communicating anything that might incriminate him as some agent of Russian Intelligence.
So, why did Mueller and his gang even bother to renew that FISA warrant yet again? Why did they put Kevin Clinesmith into the risky position of falsifying a CIA message in order to renew the FISA warrant yet again?
That would be a good question to ask Clinesmith: Why were you even trying to renew the FISA warrant, when Page obviously knew there was a FISA warrant against him?
I think there are two reasons:
1) Page and Manfort each had told the FBI that they had not communicated with each other and were not even acquainted with each other. I think that Mueller and his gang still were trying to find some proof that Page and Manfort somehow -- maybe even in the remote past -- had been acquainted and had been in communication. Then Page and/or Manafort could be charged with lying to the FBI and could be pressured to compose accusations against Trump.
2) Mueller and his gang were using the FISA warrant's two-hop range in order to fish for other Trump associates who might be charged with process crimes and then pressured to compose accusations against Trump.
I'll add that, in fact, Page was grilled extensively by Team Mueller. They couldn't pin a thing on him.Delete
He's weird, but he's not stupid. And he must've had a good lawyer.Delete
There are many questions about why CP revealed to the Russian intel people he was "MALE-1" in the Buryakov indictment.
Here's a tantalizing hypothesis, based on the fact that once he revealed he had been a cooperating witness for the FBI AGAINST the Russians, there was no way they would consider trying to recruit him.
Did CP know something about what somebody was about to do to frame him as a Russian intel asset, and thus, did he "blow his cover" on purpose to make such a claim non-viable, as the Russians would be nuts to try to recruit someone who had just worked undercover as cooperating witness for US Counter intel AGAINST THEM?
When the FBI indicted Buryakov, Russian Intelligence simply read the indictment and saw that MALE-1 obviously was Page.Delete
Right. They'd have had to be brain dead to miss that.Delete
I agree it's obvious to the Russians that CP was MALE-1, so why would be go out of his way to explicitly tell the Russians what should have been obvious to them, AND then he made sure he told the FBI he HAD told the Russians?Delete
IOW, it appears like he was making sure his cover was burned, and that FBI knew it was burned.
Because of the two hop rule. They could tap Page, and everyone Page communicates with and everyone those people communicate with.Delete
It all communications of a very large pool of people. Plus everything else, not just email and texts.
@ EZ: Because he was Carter Page? Occam's Razor. :-)Delete
why would be go out of his way to explicitly tell the Russians what should have been obvious to them, AND then he made sure he told the FBI he HAD told the Russians?Delete
That is not a mystery to me.
Russian Intelligence read the indictment, recognized that MALE-1 was Page and then asked Page about it. Page simply confirmed the obvious.
And then Page told the FBI about the conversation.
Can I add the weird thing that aside from Brennan's cable news gig the CIA has turned out to be remarkably on the up and up in this whole thing, at least what we've learned from Horowitz and Durham so far. I had assumed this was their brainchild and that Steele was pushed on them by MI6, but sure enough they were the one's fighting against the FBI including the dossier in the ICA, and they actually copped to Page being one of theirs when asked instead of burning his case files and saying Carter Who?ReplyDelete
I've been struck by that, too. Brennan and his successor, perhaps, but nothing like the FBI and DoJ. Not unless there are revelations to come.Delete
The CIA might even be uninvolved in George Papadopoulos's meeting with Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos says that the person who told him to travel from London to Rome was an FBI lawyer. (I forget the woman's name, but she worked in the London office that employed Papadopoulos.)Delete
Of course, it also seems as if AG Barr has divided the investigation up into at least two temporal phases. The one assigned to Durham begins 6 JAN 2017 and continues through today, while Bash and Jensen, if my hypothesis is correct, are investigating activities antedating the transition period. I buy sundance's theory (despite his neurotic need to put himself into the action he's researching) that the Russia hoax is an ex post facto justification for political espionage using an illicit 702 contractor program discovered by VADM Rogers in March 2016 that had been created in 2012. If that's true, it stands to reason Brennan is less scared of Durham, who seems to have his cites set on Mueller, and more importantly, the CIA as a whole would have less reason to fear than the FBI, which after all was the sole agency that was supposed to be entrusted with access over the 702 database for USPERS.Delete
The woman who told Papadopoulos to travel from London to Rome to meet Mifsud was Arvinder Sambei, who worked as a lawyer for the FBI.Delete
And Brennan's supposed secret Moscow source close to Putin who allegedly confirmed everything?Delete
I am coming around to the opinion that the CIA was not involved much in this history.Delete
Rather, the major role was played by FBI Counterintelligence, which truly believed in the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory.
I think that Michael Gaeta, the FBI official at the USA's Rome Embassy, really was working directly for Bill Priestap, the FBI's Counterintelligence Chief. Gaeta was just pretending that he was too stupid to send Christopher Steele's Dossier reports to FBI Headquarters. In fact, Gaeta sent all the Dossier reports directly to Priestap immediately after he received them from Steele.
Furthermore, Gaeta sent many more Dossier reports than are public knowledge. All the missing numbers in the Dossier series are Dossier reports that were delivered to Priestap.
Now I speculate also that Gaeta -- not anybody in the CIA -- organized the meeting in Rome between Papadopoulos and Mifsud.
I speculate further that all this was known to McCabe, Comey and a very few others in the FBI leadership, who were true believers in the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory. Those few were aware that there were many more Dossier reports than are publicly known. Those few believed that Steele actually did control a vast array of networks of informants -- and that Igor Danchenko's network was only one of many.
And Brennan's supposed secret Moscow source close to Putin who allegedly confirmed everything?Delete
The CIA's Concerns About Steele's Dossier
Mike, I'm not gonna speculate about the details re Gaeta. However, to me, the red flag is his travel from Rome to London and then I believe Steele traveled to Rome. I really can't think of any reason why someone at the FBI's London legat office couldn't have handled it--it's a large office. If you're looking for a connection between Gaeta and FBIHQ, I suspect that you'll find McCabe and Gaeta knew each other.Delete
TGP is reporting "Peter Strzok Lashes Out at John Durham..."ReplyDelete
This seems to throw cold water on the idea that Strzok is cooperating with Durham - if true.
Yeah, I just saw that. Looks like he's not cooperating. Fine. That's a guy I'd like doing some serious prison time.Delete
Today marks the corrupt transformation of our criminal justice system from a tool to absolve Trump's allies of wrongdoing into a bludgeon against his enemies.
The issue isn't the underlying acts; the corruption is the disparate treatment of them.
A Recent Prosecution Shows the Hypocrisy of Flynn’s Defenders
The same arguments used to defend Michael Flynn could be used against the prosecution of FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Yet Flynn’s supporters have remained silent.
12:52 PM · Aug 19, 2020
Strzok has got to be one of the main targets and doesn't have information with which to bargain. My guess is that Durham doesn't want Strzok's co-operation; other than a guilty plea.Delete
That certainly seems to be the case. His problem may be that if James Baker is cooperating--as has long been rumored--then Baker gives better access to the higher ups than does Strzok.Delete
Agreed. Lawfare group article in his link and tweet and Weissmanns weekend tweet reference “Material” as of DOJ is implying a double standard. Interesting. I’m sure Barr has no interest in clarifying for them.Delete
I found it interesting that the profile of one of Durham's main investigators was someone who apparently retired from the Bureau years ago that he brought back for this case. I can't find the link because I don't really know how to use Twitter. Stands to reason that if Durham doesn't trust the current crop of agents to work this case for him he wouldn't trust them as cooperating witnesses either. Just had a dark thought--what's to stop KC from having an unfortunate accident driving on the 95 tomorrow? Would any thought have been put into getting him witness protection?ReplyDelete
That's interesting. I was less than thrilled with that, however. If you look up that guy's role in the Libby case you'll see why. Back then he was working for a prototypical corrupt prosecutor and seemed to have no problem with it. You can say that 'getting' Libby for his representation of Marc Rich was different, but I'm old fashioned about rule of law.Delete
I can see how Durham would think: even a guy who would cut corners to "get Libby", could still be trusted, to be more appalled by the massive politicization inflicted by SparkleFarts etc., thanDelete
the current crop of agents would be.
As to KC himself, of course they'd better have the witness protection outfit at peak form, for him, and all those who don't stay mum, and take their lumps in the sh*thouse.
I thought they got Libby, but were aiming at Cheney.Delete
I am amazed that Trump was the one that pardoned Libby, and Bush 2 did not.
What a strange term Trump has had!
I believe Comey and Fitzgerald had it in for Libby over the Rich pardon.Delete
If Brennan is 'clean', what's his problem with Trump?ReplyDelete
If he's got stuff to hide from Trump (and Flynn, etc.), he's not clean.
Will we ever get to see the paperwork they talked about but didn't post yet? I forget what its called. But it seemed like it listed other charges.ReplyDelete
At some point we will.Delete
I had no idea Durham employed people that Fitzgerald employed in the Libby case. All of my optimism just drained out of me like a popped balloon. Plamegate was Comey's prototype for Russiagate.ReplyDelete
Re: Scooter Libby comnents = awful that the law and order mechanism would be used twistedly in order 'to get' someone disliked by those in power. There is a lot out of balance - for a long while now - in our exercise of justice. We today have many that see the results as forms of "Just Us". So much to mend ...ReplyDelete
Politico has a copy of the plea agreement posted https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000174-0950-dac0-adf5-1bf481a00000ReplyDelete
Very generic sounding--don't see anything suggesting what Clinesmith offered to get this deal.
Thanks for the link. Do you know where I can find the Statement of Offense? It's supposed to be attached to the plea agreement but wasn't included in the Politico link. I just checked the DC Circuit's docket on Pacer. It's not there either.Delete
sundance (I know you dislike reading his name) just posted something, which is either *brutally* irresponsible, or (if true) quite depressing:ReplyDelete
"From the nature of the plea, and the defense arguments in court and public, it is *obvious there is no arrangement* for Clinesmith’s assistance or cooperation...."
He's a genius!Delete
This deal could have been had a year ago. The wrongdoing was uncovered long ago. While the deal does not describe cooperation required of Clinesmith, there is no reason to believe he hasn't already been helpful to Durham. Possibly Durham waited so long so he could run out those leads so that he never needed to describe future cooperation in his plea deal. He had close to a year's worth of time to do that if Durham were so inclined.Delete
I have said this before, but sundance could simply be playing the role of carnival barker to give his audience a show. His concern is legitimate, but he has no actual information to share on whether his concerns are in fact the truth of what is happening with respect to holding people accountable. Barr has stated publicly that he expects significant developments while at the same time disclosing this development was happening but not earth shattering. I take Barr at his word--he has never misled the public with his statements.
Slightly OT, but maybe not. Is the Bannon indictment, coming out of the Southern District in NY, a deep state counterattack?Delete
Or is Bannon the jerk I think he is?
@ Titan: There's sure to be more out there. He does seem like a loose cannon, not to be trusted. Of course, SDNY isn't to be trusted, either.Delete
@ Anon: All true.
Like many that achieve fame from some some insight, or at least a different perspective, he began to believe his own PR and then became convinced of his own importance/indispensability, to the detriment of said insight/perspective.Delete
Paragraph 10 of the agreement includes a 'debriefing' by the FBI, so that's not entirely true.ReplyDelete
Yes. I didn't comment on that in my new post because it pertains strictly to FISA matters and the FBI.Delete
Something everyone should read. Shipwreckedcrew’s article on “Demystifying the Grand Jury Process”. Even the One-Who-Cannot-Be-Named did not know that Grand Jury material could not be shared with others (congressional hearings)...ReplyDelete