Tag Archives: Russiagate

President Trump Requests Clinton Judge Who Was Assigned to Oversee His “Russiagate” Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton Be Removed

Joe Hoft
April 5th, 2022

President Trump is requesting that the Clinton judge overseeing his Russiagate case be removed due to obvious conflicts of interest.  

The corrupt liberal machine does not believe in addressing their obvious conflicts of interest.  We saw it in the Russiagate nightmare.  Corrupt FBI Director Jim Comey was fired and his good friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was assigned over his case.

The entire team that was put together under Mueller was a group of far-left nutty corrupt Hillary-loving and Trump-hating prosecutors and investigators.  The entire investigation was a sham run by biased individuals who hated President Trump and who were on a mission to remove him from office.

President Trump recently sued a number of individuals for their actions related to the Russiagate sham nightmare that these corrupt Democrats and RINOs put America through.  But somehow this case was assigned to a Bill Clinton appointed judge.

Now the President is moving that the courts replace the Clinton judge with someone who is not biased.  The Washington Examiner reports:

Former President Donald Trump wants to remove the federal judge assigned to his lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and others tied to the so-called “Russiagate” controversy.

Trump’s legal team filed a motion to disqualify U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who is based in West Palm Beach, Florida, citing how the judge was nominated by former President Bill Clinton in 1997, when his spouse was the first lady.

The filing stresses that “there exists a reasonable basis that Judge Middlebrooks’ impartiality will be questioned” and notes the lawsuit is levied, in part, against Hillary Clinton, who ran an unsuccessful presidential campaign against Trump in 2016.

In addition, the motion cites Section 455 of the U.S. Code, which states, “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Trump’s filing does not make any mention of Middlebrooks’s decision in 2016 to toss a civil racketeering lawsuit against Clinton which alleged that the former secretary of state used her private email account and changed U.S. foreign policy to seek speaking fees and donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Conflicts of interest can be real or perceived.  This conflict is real and perceived. 

Trump Calls For Clinton-Appointed Judge to Be Recused From His Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton and the DNC

Cassandra Fairbanks
March 26th, 2022

Former President Donald Trump is calling for the Clinton-appointed judge to be recused from his lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and nearly 50 others for sabotaging his presidency.

Trump discussed the lawsuit during an interview with BlazeTV host Glenn Beck.

The accusations in the 108 page complaint include, but are not limited to, RICO conspiracy, injurious falsehood, conspiracy to commit injurious falsehood, malicious prosecution, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, and theft of trade secrets.

“It was totally corrupt what they did,” Trump said.

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The Blaze reports that “the lawsuit will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. In 2015, Middlebrooks threw out a civil racketeering suit filed against Hillary Clinton that claimed she had used her private email server and position as secretary of state to promise changes in U.S. foreign policy in exchange for speaking fees and donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

Trump told Beck that this is a conflict of interest and that Middlebrooks must recuse himself immediately.

“We have a judge that was appointed by Bill Clinton. And who knows Hillary Clinton very well. And we’re suing Hillary Clinton,” Trump said.

“Now, the problem we have, though, is if you have a judge that’s going to throw out the case, and you have to go through appeals. Yep, I think you have a great appeals section. But we’ll see. So we’ll probably ask for a recusal. Maybe a change of venue. But not a change as much as a recusal,” he added.

Trump is seeking $72 million in damages in the lawsuit.

Durham’s Trump-Russia Report Likely To Be Made Public: Justice Official

Martin Walsh
March 18, 2022

Government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice for “records of communication between Special Counsel John Durham and Attorney General Merrick Garland.”

In a press release, the lawsuit was filed after the DOJ failed to respond to an August 23, 2021, FOIA request.

Judicial Watch is requesting the following from the DOJ:

1. All records of communication, including emails and text messages, between Special Counsel John Durham and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

2. All budget records related to the operations of the office of Special Counsel John Durham.

The U.S. Department of Justice suggested that when Durham finishes his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, his report will likely be made public.

Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers about Durham’s investigation.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta sent a letter back saying that he could not comment on Durham’s ongoing investigation or its status.

However, that’s not all.

The GOP Senators stated in their letter that back in October 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr wrote that: “The Special Counsel, to the maximum extent possible and consistent with the law and policies and practices of the Department of Justice, shall submit to the Attorney General a final report, and such interim reports as he deems appropriate, in a form that will permit public dissemination.”

In his response letter, Gaeta wrote, “The Department agrees with this statement.”

There have been a few updates in recent weeks about Durham’s investigation.

Last week, GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that he expects Durham to release a “damaging report” on the FBI’s failed investigation into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia.

Nunes said he thinks prison sentences could fall on a number of former senior Obama officials.

“Nunes is one of the few members of the Republican Party that still believe justice will be served. He laid out his reasons on The Sara Carter Show and said he hasn’t given up faith in Durham’s investigation despite the enormous speculation that the Durham investigation will fail to deliver justice,” wrote Carter.

Durham was appointed last October by Barr to serve as special counsel to look into the origins of the FBI’s since-tarnished investigation into Trump.

During the course of the DOJ probe, numerous FBI officials who worked under President Obama were fired or resigned from their positions.

“As you know, the Republican conference has asked me to investigate this,” Nunes told the journalist.

“You know, I’d like to get back to the days when I was just dealing with foreign threats, and looking at what’s happening in Cuba, looking at what Putin’s doing, looking at what the Chinese are doing. But I’m always getting rolled back into this because the Democrats in this country have weaponized our institutions over the last five, six years,” Nunes added.

Nunes responded by saying that he expects the report to be delivered and fully expects those responsible for the probe to be charged.

“I just have to have faith ultimately, that there’s that, you know, there was a special counsel created, Durham does have the power, we’re fully expecting him to deliver the report,” said Nunes.

He added: “It may not be as broad as we want it to be. But look, there are some major perpetrators. I think as you and everybody else know, we’ve made over 14 criminal referrals. That doesn’t mean 14 individuals, that means 14 different criminal referrals involving multiple individuals… And this is one of the challenges.”

Durham Says Clinton Lawyer Engaged in a ‘Political Deceit’ When Giving Trump Dirt to FBI

John Solomon
 March 5th, 2022

Former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann engaged in “political deceit” during his contacts with the FBI and deprived agents of critical information that could have influenced the course of the Russia probe, Special Counsel John Durham declared in a new filing asking a court not to dismiss his criminal case.

Sussmann recently asked the trial judge to dismiss a charge of lying to the FBI, arguing his alleged false statement to the FBI was not material to the case and was protected by the First Amendment. The lawyer is accused of lying to the FBI when he claimed he was not working on behalf of any clients when he delivered dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump to the FBI general counsel alleging the GOP nominee had a secret computer channel to the Kremlin.

In fact, FBI agents found no evidence that the computer channel existed, and Sussmann was in fact working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and a computer executive aligned with the campaign when he approached the FBI, his indictment last fall alleged.

Durham responded Friday with a sweeping rebuke of Sussmann’s conduct in 2016 and 2017, saying as a former Justice Deparyment lawyer he knew that giving false information to the FBI undercut the tenets of the legal system.

“Far from finding himself in the vulnerable position of an ordinary person whose speech is likely to be chilled, the defendant – a sophisticated and well-connected lawyer – chose to bring politically-charged allegations to the FBI’s chief legal officer at the height of an election season,” Durham wrote the judge.

“He then chose to lie about the clients who were behind those allegations. Using such rare access to the halls of power for the purposes of political deceit is hardly the type of speech that the Founders intended to protect,” he added. “The Court should therefore reject defendant’s invitation to expand the scope of the First Amendment to protect such conduct.”

You can read the full court filing here.

File: SussmannFiling.pdf

Durham also revealed that he plans to deliver testimony at trial from FBI and government witnesses that Sussmann’s false statement was material and relevant and could have influenced the course of the Russia collusion case.

“The expected testimony of multiple government witnesses will refute the defendant’s argument that the defendant’s false statement was immaterial,” Durham wrote. “As noted above, the government expects that current and former FBI employees will testify at trial that understanding the origins of data and information is relevant to the FBI in multiple ways, including to assess the reliability and motivations of the source.

“None of this is novel. An evaluation of a source can (and often does) influence the FBI’s decisions regarding its initial opening decisions and subsequent investigative steps. That alone is sufficient to establish materiality.”

You can read Sussmann’s indictment here.

File:  SussmannIndict.pdf

Panicked Left Using Old Tactics to Try to Derail Durham Probe

The Left is reviving old tactics from Bill Clinton-era Whitewater scandal in a panicked attempt to prevent the public from knowing the full scope of the Russia-collusion hoax, according to a report in Just the News.

During the 1990s investigation into the Clintons’ role in the Whitewater Development Corporation and its real-estate shenanigans, Hillary Clinton’s response — a trial balloon of her infamous invocation of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” involving Monica Lewinsky—was to attack government prosecutors as “politically motivated” and “allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband.”

Clinton and her allies in the media have recently trained similar fire on Special Counsel John Durham, Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray told Just the News.

“I think one of the things that grew out of the [Whitewater investigation] is that everybody came to the conclusion that the best way to defend was to go on offense in the political realm to undermine the legitimacy of the prosecutor,” Ray said. “That’s the playbook.”

True to form, Hillary took to Twitter on Feb. 16 to describe as a “fake scandal” Durham’s evidence of the Clinton campaign’s involvement in the Russia hoax.


Date: February 23, 2022Author: Nwo Report0 Comments

‘Everybody came to the conclusion that the best way to defend was to go on offense in the political realm to undermine the legitimacy of the prosecutor…’

Source: Tony Sifert

(Tony SifertHeadline USA) The Left is reviving old tactics from Bill Clinton-era Whitewater scandal in a panicked attempt to prevent the public from knowing the full scope of the Russia-collusion hoax, according to a report in Just the News.

During the 1990s investigation into the Clintons’ role in the Whitewater Development Corporation and its real-estate shenanigans, Hillary Clinton’s response — a trial balloon of her infamous invocation of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” involving Monica Lewinsky—was to attack government prosecutors as “politically motivated” and “allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband.”

Clinton and her allies in the media have recently trained similar fire on Special Counsel John Durham, Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray told Just the News.

“I think one of the things that grew out of the [Whitewater investigation] is that everybody came to the conclusion that the best way to defend was to go on offense in the political realm to undermine the legitimacy of the prosecutor,” Ray said. “That’s the playbook.”

True to form, Hillary took to Twitter on Feb. 16 to describe as a “fake scandal” Durham’s evidence of the Clinton campaign’s involvement in the Russia hoax.

Trump & Fox are desperately spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real ones. So it’s a day that ends in Y.

The more his misdeeds are exposed, the more they lie.

For those interested in reality, here’s a good debunking of their latest nonsense.https://t.co/iYY8Uxuogx

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 16, 2022

“Trump & Fox are desperately spinning up a fake scandal to distract from his real ones,” Clinton wrote. “The more his misdeeds are exposed, the more they lie.”

The media is eager to comply, with Newsweek claiming in a pro-Hillary piece that “Durham’s filing isn’t the damning evidence that Trump and other conservatives have claimed.”

Vanity Fair has also stepped into the fray, arguing in a Feb. 15 article that “Trump and company got the whole thing hilariously, mortifyingly incorrect.”

And the New Republic called for an end to the investigation altogether, as reported by the Gateway Pundit.

“It’s all fiction, straight out of the Josef Goebbels School of Political Communication,” claimed writer New Republic writer Michael Tomasky, implying that Trump was, in fact, colluding with Russia, contrary to all the evidence that indicates otherwise.

“If you are doing X—setting fire to the Reichstag, say, or cooperating with the Kremlin to win a presidential election—you accuse your opponent of doing the thing that you’re doing,” Tomansky acknowledged.

Such double-deflections have been standard in the leftist playbook, popularized by former Hillary Clinton mentor Saul Alinsky.

For his part, Ray argued that “the current Durham probe has raised serious questions that need to be answered about whether the Clinton campaign was able to lure the FBI and intelligence community into impacting the electoral process by investigating Trump on a false premise.”

On Fox News, meanwhile, former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker suggested that there may be a long and arduous road still ahead in unraveling the criminal misconduct.

Before reaching the very top—a takedown of Hillary, herself—Durham may need to flip a number of mid-level perpetrators, he said, according to the Blue State Conservative.

Clinton Lawyer Asks Court to ‘Strike’ ‘Factual Background’ in Durham’s Latest Filing

Jon Dougherty
February 16, 2022

Lawyers for former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussman, who has been charged in John Durham’s probe into the origins of the ‘Russiagate’ investigation, are demanding the court “strike” a “factual background” segment of the special counsel’s most recent filing because they claim it will “taint the jury pool.”

The Sussmann motion comes on the heels of a bombshell filing late last week by Durham that honed in on potential conflicts of interest in relation to the former Clinton attorney’s representation after he has been charged with making a false statement to a federal investigator.

Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

“Unfortunately, the Special Counsel has done more than simply file a document identifying potential conflicts of interest,” Sussmann’s attorneys wrote. “Rather, the Special Counsel has again made a filing in this case that unnecessarily includes prejudicial—and false—allegations that are irrelevant to his Motion and to the charged offense, and are plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool.

“Sadly, the Special Counsel seems to be succeeding in his effort to instigate unfair and prejudicial media coverage of Mr. Sussmann’s case,” Sussmann’s attorneys added, according to Fox News.

The Clinton attorney’s legal team also called on the court to “strike the Factual Background portion of the Special Counsel’s motion pursuant to the Court’s inherent power to ‘fashion an appropriate sanction for conduct which abuses the judicial process.’”

Fox News adds:

Durham’s indictment against Sussmann, says he told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016, less than two months before the 2016 presidential election, that he was not doing work “for any client” when he requested and held a meeting in which he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

But Durham’s Feb. 11 filing alleged that lawyers from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 had paid to infiltrate servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House, in order to establish an “inference” and “narrative” to bring to federal government agencies linking Donald Trump to Russia.

In the February 11 filing in a section titled “Factual Background,” Durham said that Sussmann “had assembled and conveyed the allegations to the FBI on behalf of at least two specific clients, including a technology executive (Tech Executive 1) at a U.S.-based internet company (Internet Company 1) and the Clinton campaign.”

It also alleged that Sussmann’s “billing records reflect” that he “repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work on the Russian Bank-1 allegations.”

The filing showed that the Tech Executive and Sussmann met and talked to another law partner, who was serving as General Counsel to the Clinton campaign. That attorney, sources said, is Marc Elias, who worked at the law firm Perkins Coie.

The Perkins Coie firm was used by the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 Clinton campaign as the go-between to fund the debunked anti-Trump “Steele dossier.” The dossier was commissioned by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm.

In a separate report, Fox News noted:

Durham’s filing states that in July 2016, the tech executive worked with Sussman, a U.S. investigative firm retained by Law Firm 1 on behalf of the Clinton campaign, numerous cyber researchers and employees at multiple internet companies to “assemble the purported data and white papers.”

“In connection with these efforts, Tech Executive-1 exploited his access to non-public and/or proprietary Internet data,” the filing said. “Tech Executive-1 also enlisted the assistance of researchers at a U.S.-based university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of Internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract.”

“Tech Executive-1 tasked these researchers to mine Internet data to establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’ tying then-candidate Trump to Russia,” Durham said. “In doing so, Tech Executive-1 indicated that he was seeking to please certain ‘VIPs,’ referring to individuals at Law Firm-1 and the Clinton campaign.”

Fast Growing Number of Democrats Want Hillary Clinton Investigated for Her Role in Russiagate

Sophie Mann
February 14th, 2022

An increasing number of Democrats believe Hillary Clinton should be investigated by special counsel John Durham in connection with her alleged involvement in manufacturing ties between 2016 presidential rival Donald Trump and Russia, according to a recent survey.

The survey, by TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics, found 75% of respondents who follow the story think Clinton and her campaign advisers should be investigated for her role in so-called Russiagate, according to several news reports.

Among them, 66% are Democrats – a 20-point rise from last October when the same question was asked.

About the same percentage of independent voters agreed that Clinton should be probed, and 91% of Republicans said the same. 

The data was collected prior to last week’s bombshell report from Durham that the Clinton campaign hired a tech firm to “infiltrate” servers at Trump Tower to try to tie the future president to Russia.

The aim of the mission, according to Durham, was to try to tarnish Trump’s reputation by connecting him to the Russians.

Clinton’s campaign repeatedly alleged that Trump and his campaign were in secret, close communication with Russian players to try to influence the outcome of the presidential race, though none of those claims were ever proven. 

William Barr, a Trump administration attorney general, appointed Durham in December 2020 to act as a Justice Department special counsel investigating whether intelligence and law enforcement violated the law in probing the 2016 Trump campaign.

The Clinton campaign spying development is the latest revelation out of the special counsel investigation as it continues to probe the activities of former Perkins and Coie attorney Michael Sussman, who while at the Washington, D.C., firm was also law partners with Clinton campaign general counsel Mark Elias.

Sussman was indicted almost six months ago for allegedly lying to the FBI prior to the 2016 election about whether he was working for a client when he brought allegations to the bureau about Trump’s links to the major private Russian financial institution Alfa-Bank.

Sussman denied he was working for anyone, including the campaign. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September 2021 for allegedly making a false statement to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016, regarding alleged communications between the Trump Organization and Russian Bank.

Sussman pleaded not guilty, but further investigation appear to have led Durham to more possible evidence that the Clinton campaign spied on the Trump campaign in its efforts to establish the Russia-hoax. 

The poll also indicated that Americans are looking to crack down on corruption within political families.

A little less than 70% of respondents said they believe President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, Jimmy Biden, be barred from participating in any business involving the Biden’s administration.

Those parameters include discussing policy proposal with the president or his aides and taking government jobs or contracts.

Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for potential tax fraud.

The U.S. Attorney for Delaware recently subpoenaed bank records pertaining to him, his uncle and some of their business associates. The younger Biden insists he has handled his affairs “legally and appropriately.” 

THE SWAMP TAKES CARE OF ITS OWN: DC Bar Restores Convicted FBI Russiagate Forger Kevin Clinesmith While Still on Probation

Paul Sperry,
December 17th, 2021

A former senior FBI lawyer who falsified a surveillance document in the Trump-Russia investigation has been restored as a member in “good standing” by the District of Columbia Bar Association even though he has yet to finish serving out his probation as a convicted felon, according to disciplinary records obtained by RealClearInvestigations.

The move is the latest in a series of exceptions the bar has made for Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty in August 2020 to doctoring an email used to justify a surveillance warrant targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months probation last January. But the D.C. Bar did not seek his disbarment, as is customary after lawyers are convicted of serious crimes involving the administration of justice. In this case, it did not even initiate disciplinary proceedings against him until February of this year — five months after he pleaded guilty and four days after RealClearInvestigations first reported he had not been disciplined.

After the negative publicity, the bar temporarily suspended Clinesmith pending a review and hearing. Then in September, the court that oversees the bar and imposes sanctions agreed with its recommendation to let Clinesmith off suspension with time served; the bar, in turn, restored his status to “active member” in “good standing.”

Before quietly making that decision, however, records indicate the bar did not check with his probation officer to see if he had violated the terms of his sentence or if he had completed the community service requirement of volunteering 400 hours.

To fulfill the terms of his probation, Clinesmith volunteered at Street Sense Media in Washington but stopped working at the nonprofit group last summer, which has not been previously reported. “I can confirm he was a volunteer here,” Street Sense editorial director Eric Falquero told RCI, without elaborating about how many hours he worked. Clinesmith had helped edit and research articles for the weekly newspaper, which coaches the homeless on how to “sleep on the streets” and calls for a “universal living wage” and prison reform.

Special Counsel Could Still Be Investigating Clinesmith

From the records, it also appears bar officials did not consult with the FBI’s Inspection Division, which has been debriefing Clinesmith to determine if he was involved in any other surveillance abuses tied to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, in addition to the one used against Page. Clinesmith’s cooperation was one of the conditions of the plea deal he struck with Special Counsel John Durham. If he fails to fully cooperate, including turning over any relevant materials or records in his possession, he could be subject to perjury or obstruction charges.

Clinesmith — who was assigned to some of the FBI’s most sensitive and high-profile investigations — may still be in Durham’s sights regarding other areas of his wide-ranging probe.

The scope of his mandate as special counsel is broader than commonly understood: In addition to examining the legal justification for the FBI’s “Russiagate” probe, it also includes examining the bureau’s handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured email server, which she set up in her basement to send and receive classified information, and her destruction of more than 30,000 subpoenaed emails she generated while running the State Department. As assistant FBI general counsel in the bureau’s national security branch, Clinesmith played an instrumental role in that investigation, which was widely criticized by FBI and Justice Department veterans, along with ethics watchdogs, as fraught with suspicious irregularities.

Clinesmith also worked on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the 2016 Trump campaign as the key attorney linking his office to the FBI. He was the only headquarters lawyer assigned to Mueller. Durham’s investigators are said to be looking into the Mueller team’s actions as well.

The D.C. Bar’s treatment of Clinesmith, a registered Democrat who sent anti-Trump rants to FBI colleagues after the Republican was elected, has raised questions from the start. Normally the bar automatically suspends the license of members who plead guilty to a felony. But in Clinesmith’s case, it delayed suspending him on even an interim basis for several months and only acted after RCI revealed the break Clinesmith was given, records confirm.

Repeated Irregularities in Clinesmith’s Case

It then allowed him to negotiate his fate, which is rarely done in any misconduct investigation, let alone one involving a serious crime, according to a review of past cases. It also overlooked violations of its own rules: Clinesmith apparently broke the bar’s rule requiring reporting his guilty plea “promptly” to the court — within 10 days of entering it — and failed to do so for five months, reveal transcripts of a July disciplinary hearing obtained by RCI.

“I did not see evidence that you informed the court,” Rebecca Smith, the chairwoman of the D.C. Bar panel conducting the hearing, admonished Clinesmith.

“[T]hat was frankly just an error,” Clinesmith’s lawyer stepped in to explain.

Smith also scolded the bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the “delay” in reporting the offense, since it negotiated the deal with Clinesmith, pointing out: “Disciplinary counsel did not report the plea to the court and initiate a disciplinary proceeding.” Bill Ross, the assistant disciplinary counsel who represented the office at the hearing, argued Clinesmith shouldn’t be held responsible and blamed the oversight on the COVID pandemic.

The Democrat-controlled panel, known as the Board on Professional Responsibility, nonetheless gave Clinesmith a pass, rubberstamping the light sentence he negotiated with the bar’s chief prosecutor, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton “Phil” Fox, while admitting it was “unusual.” Federal Election Commission records show Fox, a former Watergate prosecutor, is a major donor to Democrats, including former President Obama. All three members of the board also are Democratic donors, FEC data reveal.

Contrasting Action Taken by Michigan Bar

While the D.C. Bar delayed taking any action against Clinesmith, the Michigan Bar, where he is also licensed, automatically suspended him the day he pleaded guilty. And on Sept. 30, records show, the Michigan Bar’s attorney discipline board suspended Clinesmith for two years, from the date of his guilty plea through Aug. 19, 2022, and fined him $1,037.

“[T]he panel found that respondent engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the proper administration of justice [and] exposed the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure or reproach,” the board ruled against Clinesmith, adding that his misconduct “was contrary to justice, ethics, honesty or good morals; violated the standards or rules of professional conduct adopted by the Supreme Court; and violated a criminal law of the United States.”

Normally, bars arrange what’s called “reciprocal discipline” for unethical attorneys licensed in their jurisdictions. But this was not done in the case of Clinesmith. The D.C. Bar decided to go much easier on the former FBI attorney, further raising suspicions the anti-Trump felon was given favorable treatment.

In making the bar’s case not to strip Clinesmith of his license or effectively punish him going forward, Fox disregarded key findings by Durham about Clinesmith’s intent to deceive the FISA court as a government attorney who held a position of trust.

Clinesmith Pled Guilty to Falsifying Records

Clinesmith confessed to creating a false document by changing the wording in a June 2017 CIA email to state Page was “not a source” for the CIA when in fact the agency had told Clinesmith and the FBI on multiple occasions Page had been providing information about Russia to it for years — a revelation that, if disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, would have undercut the FBI’s case for electronically monitoring Page as a supposed Russian agent and something that Durham noted Clinesmith understood all too well.

Bar records show Fox simply took Clinesmith’s word that he believed the change in wording was accurate and that in making it, he mistakenly took a “shortcut” to save time and had no intent to deceive the court or the case agents preparing the application for the warrant.

Durham demonstrated that Clinesmith certainly did intend to mislead the FISA court. “By his own words, it appears that the defendant falsified the email in order to conceal [Page’s] former status as a source and to avoid making an embarrassing disclosure to the FISC,” the special prosecutor asserted in his 20-page memo to the sentencing judge, in which he urged a prison term of up to six months for Clinesmith. “Such a disclosure would have drawn a strong and hostile response from the FISC for not disclosing it sooner [in earlier warrant applications].”

As proof of Clinesmith’s intent to deceive, Durham cited an internal message Clinesmith sent the FBI agent preparing the application, who relied on Clinesmith to tell him what the CIA said about Page. “At least we don’t have to have a terrible footnote” explaining that Page was a source for the CIA in the application, Clinesmith wrote.

The FBI lawyer also removed the initial email he sent to the CIA inquiring about Page’s status as a source before forwarding the CIA email to another FBI agent, blinding him to the context of the exchange about Page.

Durham also noted that Clinesmith repeatedly changed his story after the Justice Department’s watchdog first confronted him with the altered email during an internal 2019 investigation. What’s more, he falsely claimed his CIA contact told him in phone calls that Page was not a source, conversations the contact swore never happened.

Clinesmith Was Politically Biased at the FBI

Fox also maintained that Clinesmith had no personal motive in forging the document. But Durham cited virulently anti-Trump political messages Clinesmith sent to other FBI employees after Trump won in 2016 – including a battle cry to “fight” Trump and his policies – and argued that his clear political bias may have led to his criminal misconduct.

“It is plausible that his strong political views and/or personal dislike of [Trump] made him more willing to engage in the fraudulent and unethical conduct to which he has pled guilty,” Durham told U.S. District Judge Jeb Boasberg.

Boasberg, a Democrat appointed by President Obama, spared Clinesmith jail time and let him serve out his probation from home. Fox and the D.C. Bar sided with Boasberg, who accepted Clinesmith’s claim he did not intentionally deceive the FISA court, which Boasberg happens to preside over, and even offered an excuse for his criminal conduct.

“My view of the evidence is that Mr. Clinesmith likely believed that what he said about Mr. Page was true,” Boasberg said. “By altering the email, he was saving himself some work and taking an inappropriate shortcut.”

Fox echoed the judge’s reasoning in essentially letting Clinesmith off the hook. (The deal they struck, which the U.S. District Court of Appeals that oversees the bar approved in September, called for a one-year suspension, but the suspension began retroactively in August 2020, which made it meaningless.) Boasberg opined that Clinesmith had “already suffered” punishment by losing his FBI job and $150,000 salary.

But, Boasberg assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that Clinesmith also faced possible disbarment. ”And who knows where his earnings go now,” the judge sympathized. “He may be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law.”

Anticipating such a punishment, Boasberg waived a recommended fine of up to $10,000, arguing that Clinesmith couldn’t afford it. He also waived the regular drug testing usually required during probation, while returning Clinesmith’s passport. And he gave his blessing to Clinesmith’s request to serve out his probation as a volunteer journalist, before wishing him well: “Mr. Clinesmith, best of luck to you.”

FBI Should Have Much Higher Standards

Fox did not respond to requests for comment. But he argued in a petition to the board that his deal with Clinesmith was “not unduly lenient,” because it was comparable to sanctions imposed in similar cases. However, none of the cases he cited involved the FBI, Justice Department or FISA court. One case involved a lawyer who made false statements to obtain construction permits, while another made false statements to help a client become a naturalized citizen – a far cry from falsifying evidence to spy on an American citizen.

Durham noted that in providing the legal support for a warrant application to the secret FISA court, Clinesmith had “a heightened duty of candor,” since FISA targets do not have legal representation before the court. He argued Clinesmith’s offense was “a very serious crime with significant repercussions” and suggested it made him unfit to practice law.

“An attorney – particularly an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel – is the last person that FBI agents or this court should expect to create a false document,” Durham said.

The warrant Clinesmith helped obtain has since been deemed invalid and the surveillance of Page illegal. Never charged with a crime, Page is now suing the FBI and Justice Department for $75 million for violating his constitutional rights against improper searches and seizures.

Explaining the D.C. Bar’s disciplinary process in a 2019 interview with Washington Lawyer magazine, Fox said that “the lawyer has the burden of proving they are fit to practice again. Have they accepted responsibility for their conduct?” His office’s website said a core function is to “deter attorneys from engaging in misconduct.”

In the same interview, Fox maintained that he tries to insulate his investigative decisions from political bias. “I try to make sure our office is not used as a political tool,” he said. “We don’t want to be a political tool for the Democrats or Republicans.”

Bar records from the Clinesmith case show Fox suggested the now-discredited Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation was “a legitimate and highly important investigation.”

Protecting People Who Hurt Trump

One longstanding member of the D.C. Bar with direct knowledge of Clinesmith’s case before the bar suspects its predominantly Democratic board went soft on him due to partisan politics. “The District of Columbia is a very liberal bar,” he said. “Basically, they went light on him because he’s also a Democrat who hated Trump.”

Meanwhile, the D.C. Bar has not initiated disciplinary proceedings against Michael Sussmann, another Washington attorney charged by Durham. Records show Sussmann remains an “active member” of the bar in “good standing,” which also has not been previously reported. The former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer, who recently resigned from Washington-based Perkins Coie LLP, is accused of lying to federal investigators about his client while passing off a report falsely linking Trump to the Kremlin.

While Sussmann has pleaded not guilty and has yet to face trial, criminal grand jury indictments usually prompt disciplinary proceedings and interim suspensions.

Paul Kamenar of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government ethics watchdog, has called for the disbarment of both Clinesmith and Sussmann. He noted that the D.C. Court of Appeals must automatically disbar an attorney who commits a crime of moral turpitude, which includes crimes involving the “administration of justice.”

“Clinesmith pled guilty to a felony. The only appropriate sanction for committing a serious felony that also interfered with the proper administration of justice and constituted misrepresentation, fraud and moral turpitude, is disbarment,” he said. “Anything less would minimize the seriousness of the misconduct” and fail to deter other offenders.

Disciplinary Counsel Fox appears to go tougher on Republican bar members. For example, he recently opened a formal investigation of former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, whom records show Fox put under “temporary disciplinary suspension” pending the outcome of the ethics probe, which is separate from the one being conducted by the New York bar. In July, the New York Bar also suspended the former GOP mayor on an interim basis.

Giuliani has not been convicted of a crime or even charged with one.

This article is republished from RealClearInvestigations