I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, given that we know of only one surefire violation by Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI lawyer. I assume that the false statement (18 USC 1001) is related to his altering of an official government document--an email--with regard to the final Carter Page FISA renewal, the one sought and obtained by Team Mueller. I also assume that, had they wished to, additional charges could have been brought, including obstruction, but also perhaps relating specifically to mishandling of official government property. His professional life is ruined.
Based on those assumptions, I'm inclined to make the further assumption that the plea deal will include a commitment by Clinesmith to cooperate fully with Durham's investigators. In point of fact, if that's the case then Clinesmith will have already cooperated in anticipation for the actual plea. It's always possible, of course, that Clinesmith committed other violations that are not public knowledge.
All in all, this appears to be a step in the right direction and a signal that more is to come. While not a true high level player in the coup conspiracy, Clinesmith was close to some who were, and could provide (probably has already provided) information that at a minimum could point the investigators in fruitful directions that tie his action(s) in to the larger conspiracy. It's also possible that he could directly implicate others in criminal offenses in furtherance of that conspiracy. The latter possibility would be most likely if others knew of his alteration of the email.
We shall see, and I'll look forward to what former prosecutors may make of this plea deal.
In the meantime, here's the Fox News account, in relevant part:
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham's review of the investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, Clinesmith's attorney told The Associated Press on Friday.
Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department's inspector general's office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation. Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to say that he was "not a source" for another government agency. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. The DOJ relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Clinesmith is being charged in federal court in Washington and is expected to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement, his attorney Justin Shur told The Associated Press.
UPDATE 1: Since Clinesmith would probably have been working directly with Andrew Weissmann at the time in question it's probable that 1) Weissmann saw this plea coming and 2) understands that he's in the crosshairs. The question is: Can Clinesmith deliver?
Another aspect. Clinesmith was heavily involved in the Papadopoulos case. Is it possible that his cooperation runs in that direction as well?
UPDATE 2: Sean Davis' account at The Federalist offers a useful reminder--emails Clinesmith wrote right after the election. Note that Clinesmith's emails appear to show a sense of guilt over participating in the investigation of Trump's campaign. If Crossfire Hurricane had been on the up and up, why that sense of guilt, why the concern for his name being on "legal documents investigating his staff" if he was doing his job honestly? That's very suggestive of complicitness in a conspiracy involving wrongdoing. And then the "Viva le resistance [sic]" can be interpreted in context to signify a willingness or even an intent to continue in that wrongdoing. These emails could be used by a prosecutor to demonstrate that Clinesmith's testimony is reliable or that he was willing to follow wrongful directions from a superior. It's not conclusive, but it's possibly part of a complex picture. We'll have to wait and see, and we should be seeing evaluation from former prosecutors, as well.
Here are those emails, from Davis' article:
Clinesmith’s name first made national news after his anti-Trump text messages to another FBI attorney, Sally Moyer, surfaced following a separate OIG investigation of anti-Trump bias from top FBI attorneys and investigators.
“I’m just devastated,” Clinesmith texted to Moyer shortly after Trump won the presidential election in November of 2016. “Plus, my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff,” Clinesmith wrote.
“Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?” Moyer later asked Clinesmith, ostensibly referring to Clinesmith’s plan to remain at the FBI after Trump’s inauguration.
“Hell no,” Clinesmith responded. “Viva le resistance.”