Prominent Republican lawmakers showed their outrage after learning of the 12-month probation sentence and 400 hours of community service for former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was found guilty of altering a FISA warrant to falsely accuse Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for ties to the Russian government.
James Boasberg, a D.C. District Court judge, said during a video hearing, “Anybody who’s watched what Mr. Clinesmith has suffered is not someone who would readily act in that fashion.”
Boasberg, who also sits on the FISA court, dismissed special prosecutor John Durham’s recommendation to implement up to six months in prison for Clinesmith.
Faced with the sentencing, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told the Washington Examiner, “Once again, we see a two-tiered system of justice where average Americans get investigated and imprisoned based on fake media narratives like ‘Russian collusion’ while government officials who perpetuated these abuses get off scot-free.”
“The FBI, DOJ, and judicial system need to regain Americans’ trust, and this absurd sentencing won’t help” added Nunes, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee, which uncovered several anomalies with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the Examiner that the sentence against Clinesmith was “absolutely despicable,” implying that it was disproportionate to the delicacy of the FISA Report to indict Trump.
In a statement, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) noted, “An FBI agent falsified evidence in one of the most important investigations in the Bureau’s history and a slap on the wrist isn’t going to cut it.”
“This is not a traffic court,” Sasse added, “America only works if the truth matters, if lying has consequences, and if public officials are held accountable for breaking laws,” according to Newsmax.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted, “Very rare that dept of ‘JUST US’ wld recommend jail time 4 one of their own. But they did 4 Clinesmith former FBI attorney who falsified paperwork 2spy on Trump campaign+prop up phony collusion probe+violate civil liberties of Carter Page. Outrageous DC judge gave NO prison time.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stated that the sentence “trivializes what I believe to be a stunning breach of duty to the Court and to the American people.”
“Will only further erode the American people’s confidence in DOJ and FBI, after they took the law into their own hands,” Graham added.
Over the past summer, Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email in which he baselessly alleged that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had not actively worked at the CIA, when the intelligence agency itself had confirmed this.
Clinesmith worked alongside the FBI on the Trump-Russia investigation and collaborated with special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team, admitted to Durham’s team to forging a document amid the bureau’s efforts to renew FISA surveillance authority against Page.
In April 2019, the results of the report issued by special prosecutor Mueller noted that there was no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.