FBI lawyer ‘altered email’ to wiretap Trump aide

An ex-FBI lawyer is expected to admit falsifying a document that was used as part of the inquiry into alleged Russian interference with the 2016 US presidential election.

Kevin Clinesmith’s plea deal comes as prosecutors investigate the origins of the investigation by Robert Mueller.

His inquiry found no criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign, though it did not clear the president of obstructing justice.

Mr Trump says it was a “witch hunt”.

The president has repeatedly said there was no collusion with Russia resulting in his victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

What did the ex-FBI lawyer do?

Mr Clinesmith is due to accept responsibility for altering the contents of an email which was used to obtain permission to wiretap Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

The changes resulted in information being withheld from the court that authorised the surveillance.

“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” his lawyer Justin Shur told the Associated Press news agency. “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.”

Why is the Mueller report being investigated?

The review of the Mueller investigation which began last year is being overseen by US Attorney General William Barr and run by US federal prosecutor John Durham.

He was tasked with determining whether the collection of intelligence on the Trump campaign in 2016 was lawful.

Critics have accused Mr Barr of launching a review more in the interests of the president than the interests of justice.

Mr Trump has previously accused the FBI investigators who first launched the probe into his election campaign of treason.

What was the Mueller report?

The 448-page report did not conclude that there was a criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

However, it did detail 10 instances where Mr Trump possibly attempted to impede the investigation.

The report concluded that Russia had interfered in the election “in sweeping and systematic fashion”.

That interference took the form of an extensive social media campaign and the hacking of Democratic Party servers by Russian military intelligence, the report said.

Timeline of key events in Mueller inquiry

Source: Read Full Article