FBI officials involved in Crossfire Hurricane – the investigation into Donald Trump’s associates’ connections with Russia – should be ‘very worried right now’, the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee has said.
Lindsey Graham, a powerful Republican ally of the president, told Fox News on Friday night that he thought a house of cards was about to topple.
Kevin Clinesmith, 38, a former FBI attorney, is expected to plead guilty to altering an email during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Clinesmith’s lawyer said he made a mistake while trying to clarify facts for a colleague.
Lindsey Graham appeared on Hannity on Friday night to discuss the guilty plea
Speaking to Trey Gowdy, who is standing in for Sean Hannity, Graham discussed Clinesmith
Donald Trump seized on the news that Clinesmith was preparing to plead guilty, and promoted the plea agreement as proof that the Russia investigation was illegitimate and politically motivated.
Clinesmith had written texts expressing opposition to Trump.
The president opened a White House news conference by calling Clinesmith ‘corrupt’, and the deal ‘just the beginning.’
The work of Clinesmith, and others involved, is being investigated by John Durham, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, as part of his exploration of the origins of the Russia probe that culminated in Robert Mueller’s inquiry.
Graham told Trey Gowdy, host of the Hannity show on Friday, that the news about Clinesmith’s pending plea marks a ‘great day for the rule of law.’
He added: ‘Something tells me that Mr Clinesmith knows where the bodies are buried, and if I were in the FBI working on Crossfire Hurricane [the Russia investigation], I would be very worried right now.’
Kevin Clinesmith, 38, a former FBI attorney, is expected to plead guilty to altering an email
Clinesmith will plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from Durham’s review of the FBI investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, two sources close to the matter told Fox News earlier Friday.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz previously accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to say that Page was ‘not a source’ for another government agency.
Page has said he was a source for the CIA.
The DOJ relied on the assertion that Page was not a source for other agencies as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Carter Page advised the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and was monitored by FBI
Howoritz has found, however, that law enforcement officials had sufficient reason to open the Russia investigation, and – despite Graham’s assertion – found no evidence that they acted with political bias.
William Barr, the attorney general, had previewed the agreement on the Hannity show on Thursday night, announcing that a development would occur in the investigation on Friday.
‘It’s not an earth-shattering development, but it is an indication that things are moving along at the proper pace, as dictated by the facts in this investigation,’ he said.
Graham, however, said the plea was ‘a really big deal’.
‘An FBI lawyer in charge of reviewing warrants is going to plead guilty to falsifying documents to the FISA court against a Trump advisor, and if you are lucky, you’ll find this in the mainstream media for 30 seconds,’ said Graham.
He said that if an FBI lawyer had pleaded guilty to falsifying documents to target Hillary Clinton’s advisers, it would have generated far more attention.
‘What this lawyer did is a really big deal,’ said Graham.
‘We have to trust the system, there has to be a certain amount of trust.
‘This is a lawyer, a man of the law, a member of the bar, who took it upon himself to falsify documents and keep an investigation going that should’ve been stopped.
‘This is a big day for transparency and the rule of law.’