Kevin Clinesmith – the former lead FBI attorney convicted last year of falsifying a document used to obtain a surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page – has yet to finish serving his probation . But he has already been reinstated as an “active member” in “good standing” with the District of Columbia Bar Association.
In fact, according to RealClearInvestigations, Clinesmith was never even disbarred, as is customary for attorneys convicted of serious crimes and especially those directly involving the administration of justice. Nor was he penalized by the bar for failing to promptly submit his guilty plea to the review court.
RCI reported that the bar reinstated Clinesmith without ever checking whether he violated his probation terms or fulfilled other terms of his plea agreement. Clinesmith was spared jail time following his plea. Instead, he was sentenced to 12 months probation last year and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service.
He also reinstated it without consulting the FBI’s Inspection Division, which had investigated whether Clinesmith was involved in other Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant abuses in addition to the one used against Page. Clinesmith reportedly worked on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s 2016 team that investigated alleged collusion between Trump and Russia.
Last August, Clinesmith admitted to deliberately altering a 2017 CIA email that was used in the third and final request for a FISA warrant against Page, allowing federal authorities to listen in on Page’s communications. It was the first criminal charge filed in Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins and intelligence-gathering activities of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Clinesmith, a registered Democrat and outspoken critic of former President Trump, has deservedly been treated with leniency by the Bar’s Board of Professional Responsibility, which is conveniently made up of three Democratic members, all of whom are party donors. .
Moreover, the bar “did not even initiate disciplinary proceedings against [Clinesmith] until February this year – five months after he pleaded guilty and four days after the outlet first announced he had not been disciplined,” RCI noted.
“Normally, the Law Society automatically suspends the license of members who plead guilty to a crime. But in the case of Clinesmith, it delayed even a temporary suspension for several months and only acted after RCI revealed that Clinesmith got a break,” RCI added.
The bar association’s handling of the case demonstrated “obvious impropriety and leniency”, the outlet said. This leniency certainly raises concerns that Clinesmith received favorable treatment in light of his political beliefs.
The Washington, D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct further state that it constitutes “professional misconduct” for a lawyer to “commit a criminal act which undermines the honesty of the lawyer” and also for a lawyer to ” engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
Read more about Clinesmith’s indictment:
Former FBI lawyer to plead guilty in first criminal case stemming from Durham investigation: AP