Durham Gets His First Plea Deal—Who’s Next?

By Brian Cates
Brian Cates
Brian Cates
Brian Cates is a former contributor. He is based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked for My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!”
August 20, 2020Updated: August 20, 2020


Ever since early 2017 when the Spygate scandal first began to surface, there has been intense speculation as to whether anyone would be held to account for attempting a coup against a duly elected U.S. president.

And now, more than a year after U.S. Attorney General William Barr revealed he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to investigate how the Russiagate Hoax was launched and sustained for so long, there’s a conviction at last.

It was reported on Aug. 14 in the New York Times that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith had accepted a plea deal.

Clinesmith pleaded guilty to a federal false statement charge, admitting to the judge he altered key evidence being used in the renewal of the FBI’s surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

It’s not clear at this point what, if any, agreement Clinesmith made to get this deal. I waited to write this column until Clinesmith’s plea hearing occurred on Aug. 19 to see if any aspects of the deal would be revealed, but the hearing came and went without any such disclosure.

Keeping the Russiagate Hoax Alive Just a Bit Longer

It was during the preparation for getting the Page surveillance warrant renewed for the fourth time in June 2017 that Clinesmith committed his crime.

To sum up exactly what it was that Clinesmith did, here’s a paragraph from the Department of Justice’s official website:

“Prior to the submission of the fourth FISA application, and after Individual #1 stated publicly that he/she had assisted the U.S. government in the past, an FBI Supervisory Special Agent (‘SSA’) asked Clinesmith to inquire with the OGA as to whether Individual #1 had ever been a ‘source’ for the OGA. On June 15, 2017, Clinesmith sent an email to a liaison at the OGA (‘OGA Liaison’) seeking clarification as to whether Individual #1 was an OGA source, and the OGA Liaison responded via email to Clinesmith. On June 19, 2017, Clinesmith altered the email he received from the OGA Liaison by adding the words ‘not a source,’ and then forwarded the email to the FBI SSA. Relying on the altered email, on June 29, 2017, the SSA signed and submitted the fourth FISA application to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The application did not include Individual #1’s history or status with the OGA.”

(“Individual #1” is Carter Page. The OGA is the CIA. The FBI SSA was Stephen Somma.)

To keep the legal spying on the Trump administration going in June 2017, the Crossfire Hurricane team—by then working in tandem with the Mueller Special Counsel—had to suppress the fact they were well aware the CIA had told them Page was their asset and that they had a longstanding relationship with him.

How can Page be a traitor to his country and a secret Russian agent for Putin if he was keeping the CIA up to date on all his contacts with Russian intelligence agents? It became imperative to the FBI team that this information be shielded from the FISA Court to maintain their fraudulent narrative, which is apparently why Clinesmith is now possibly headed for prison, if only for several months.

The Media Is Still in Denial

What made the news of Clinesmith being Durham’s first conviction so interesting to me is that most media are still awkwardly refusing to accept the fact the ever-growing Spygate scandal is real after they’ve spent more than three years mockingly dismissing it as a desperate right-wing conspiracy theory.

Before Clinesmith’s hearing, former head Mueller team prosecutor and current NBC News legal analyst Andrew Weissmann and several other media figures were floating a narrative that nothing sinister happened here, Clinesmith is pleading guilty to a federal felony only because of small lapse in judgement. Weissmann points out that Clinesmith also sent unaltered copies of the CIA email to other people inside the DOJ and the FBI.

This attempted defense depends on accepting the premise that it was only Clinesmith who was aware that the copy of the CIA email being given to the FISA Court had been materially altered.

So the new Resistance narrative is that Clinesmith, without anybody else involved knowing about it, all by himself decided to alter that one copy of the CIA email being submitted in the warrant application to the FISA Court.

What blows up this narrative is the fact that DOJ IG Horowitz already revealed that the FBI SSA in charge of Crossfire Hurricane, Stephen Somma, also knew about Page’s status with the CIA. And the Office of Inspector General clearly stated in its official report last December that Somma also hid this from the court.

In other words, Clinesmith was far from alone in hiding this Carter Page/CIA information from the court.

At his plea hearing, Clinesmith lamely offered the defense to the court that “at the time” he believed the CIA’s official statement in the email that Page was their longtime source was not accurate, a belief that led him to “correct” the email before it was attached to the renewal application being sent to the FISA Court.

How Many More Spygate Indictments Are Coming?

The Mueller Special Counsel’s Office investigated for almost two years whether candidate Donald Trump or anyone associated with him or his campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Mueller not only never convicted anyone of Russian collusion, but he also couldn’t find enough evidence to sustain a single charge alleging any such activity.

Now that we know who the “lucky winner” of the very first Russiagate indictment is, the question that arises is, who’s going to be the “lucky winner” of Durham indictment #2?

We’ll have to wait and see.

I’m betting very few of those involved in the Russiagate Hoax are sleeping well these days.

Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter @drawandstrike.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.