Ex-FBI Lawyer to Plead Guilty in Durham Look at Russia Probe

Ex-FBI Lawyer to Plead Guilty in Durham Look at Russia Probe

Ex-FBI Lawyer to Plead Guilty in Durham Look at Russia Probe

Friday, 14 August 2020 11:54 AM

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A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the probe of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Kevin 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.

The case against Clinesmith is likely to be cheered by President Donald Trump and his supporters as they look to the Durham investigation to lift Trump’s wobbly reelection prospects and to expose what they see as wrongdoing as the FBI opened an investigation into whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with the Kremlin to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.

The Durham investigation, which is also examining the intelligence community’s assessment about Russian election interference, has caused deep concern among Democrats, who view it as a politically charged exercise meant to relitigate an already closed investigation and fear criminal charges or public reports issued so close to the 2020 election could be timed to affect November’s vote.

The investigation has proceeded alongside a parallel effort by Senate Republicans to discredit the Russia probe and as Attorney General William Barr has escalated his own criticism of the FBI’s probe.

Barr foreshadowed the legal action in a Fox News Channel interview on Thursday night in which he said there would be a development Friday that was “not earth shattering” but would be an indication that the investigation was moving along.

Justice Department policy directs prosecutors not to take investigative steps for the purpose of affecting an election and frowns upon taking public actions in the weeks before an election. But Barr has said he did not feel constrained by that policy in part because the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, is not a target of Durham’s investigation, and Barr has signaled that he will look to make Durham’s findings public before the election.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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