National Security

Mueller deputy Weissmann criticizes DOJ for bringing case against ex-FBI lawyer

Andrew Weissmann, who served as a top prosecutor for former special counsel Robert Mueller, criticized the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to bring a case against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith as part of an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Weissmann weighed in following reports Friday that Clinesmith intends to plead guilty to falsifying a document that was part of the FBI’s justification for wiretapping former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of the 2016 investigation into Russian election interference.

“Question for [U.S. Attorney General William Barr]: how are [former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s] confessed lies to the FBI (repeated to the VP) not a crime, but Clinesmith changing an email (the full version of which he also sent to DOJ) is?” Weissmann tweeted, referencing the Justice Department’s controversial move to withdraw its case against Flynn, who had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Weissmann later asserted that there were “two systems of justice at play.”

“Questions judge should ask before accepting Clinesmith guilty plea: What precisely is the falsity of the statement that Clinesmith made? What investigation was it material to?” he tweeted.

The charge against Clinesmith marks the first criminal case arising from the probe led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. The Justice Department alleges that the former FBI attorney altered an email to say that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though Page had had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith’s lawyers on Friday said this was unintentional. 

“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email. It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility,” his lawyers told The Washington Post.

The DOJ’s probe into Clinesmith came at Barr’s behest after a report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI’s application to a court to obtain permission to monitor Page.

Tags Carter Page DOJ John Durham Kevin Clinesmith Kevin Clinesmith Michael Flynn Michael Horowitz Robert Mueller Robert Mueller investigation William Barr
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