By Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber
SCO prosecutors charged @GeorgePapa19 with a 20yr felony, even though they knew they couldn’t prove that & misled the court & media On top of that malfeasance, SCO lawyer Kevin Clinemith later effectively admitted to that *exact same felony* before GP was even charged.
Note: This is a very long thread for memorial day weekend, so grab a beer or coffee and find somewhere comfortable, we’re going to be here a while. Okay, lets roll…
Everyone probably remembers that @GeorgePapa19 (GP) was charged in July 2017 by the Special Counsel’s Office (SCO) with false statements (a 18 USC §1001 felony), made during his Jan 27, 2017 interview with the FBI. And GP later pled guilty, but not everyone knows that SCO *also* initially charged GP with ANOTHER major felony at the same time: 18 USC §1519 “obstruction” for destruction/concealment of records. And unlike the 5 years maximum for false statements, this can attract up to *20 years* imprisonment.
The §1519 charge was included in the original FBI affidavit, complaint & charge sheet, & discussed by prosecutor Brandon Van Grack (BVG; of @GenFlynn “fame”) at GP’s hurried initial Virginia court appearance on July 28, 2017 following his arrest at Dulles airport the night before.
The “obstruction” was allegedly due to GP deactivating his Facebook account, which contained messages from Joseph Mifsud and other “foreign contacts” (later the SCO would also try & imply that GP switching to a new cellphone around the same time was nefarious “obstruction” too.)
That sealed Court appearance in Virginia lasted 4 mins, was delayed by hrs (GP left detention for the courthouse at 08:30am, it didn’t start until 03:02pm) & was presided over by only a Magistrate Judge (who then just transferred case to DC) who spelled BVGs name wrong as “Gratt”
Papadoupolos wasn’t represented by Counsel at that initial appearance, even though he had been represented by the same Counsel (Thomas Breen and co.) since Feb 2017, who had attended multiple FBI interviews with him too. The Mag Judge wasn’t made aware of this by the SCO.
Yet GP’s Counsel (Mr. Breen) had been informed of GP’s arrest and spoken to GP twice the night before (see FD-302 extracts) & knew of his court appearance the next day (see extract from Politico interview) So this “obstruction” charge is really going “by the book” so far.
The overall effect on the disorientated @GeorgePapa19 appears to have been profound. He describes in his book how he took the “serious jail time” threat seriously, fearing spending *25 years in prison.* Note: he’d never even been arrested before & had no Counsel present to help.
What GP’s lawyers could’ve said at that initial hearing is out of scope of this thread – they could’ve noted GP didn’t even commit those alleged crimes in “D.C” (they took place in Illinois, so the venue was wrong) & his lawyers *personally knew the obstruction charge was false*
But the SCO could not prove the key elements of a §1519 “obstruction” charge: namely, that @GeorgePapa19 had the *intent* to obstruct an FBI’s investigation with his new FB account & cellphone. And they must have already known this BEFORE they charged him with it. Lets see why Papadopoulos *asked his own lawyers for permission before he deleted his FB account on Feb 17, 2017*. This is confirmed by GP’s own account and his lawyers written submission to Court. This was (opaquely) acknowledged by the SCO at the sentencing hearing, well over a year later.
And before that on Feb 1, GP told the lead FBI agent investigating him (Special Agent Curtis Heide) that he’d got a new cellphone & *even offered to give the FBI his old cellphone for analysis*. This is weeks before the alleged “obstruction” of getting a new cellphone took place!
That Feb 1, 2017 FBI interview was never mentioned in any court filing by the SCO, it was only described later by GP his book, then confirmed by the release of the FD-302 in a 2019 FOIA lawsuit (even GP’s own lawyers don’t seem to have been aware of the interview at the time.) In that same Feb 1, 2017 interview with FBI SA Heide, GP asked for the FBI’s assistance in identifying if any of his contacts were foreign intelligence, and advised them of Mifsud’s plans to travel to the US two weeks later. Hardly the actions of someone with *intent to obstruct*
It gets worse. Adding to the lack of “intent”, on Mar 9, 2017, after getting his new cellphone, GP actually refused the offer of a “burner phone” from an FBI CHS (“Source #3”) in what looks like entrapment. The CHS’s handler was the same FBI agent (Heide), leading GP’s interviews
Papadopoulos’ rejection of this “burner phone” offer (first revealed by @ChuckRossDC), on top of his other comments to the FBI about Mifsud & his cellphone, strongly suggests those investigating him *knew* he did not have the requisite “intent” to obstruct.
https://t.co/52UbHI5k4p?amp=1 or Download the Offline PDF of the Page Below
The FBI/SCO also likely knew GP may even have only deleted his FB account in the first place because he was frightened into doing it *by the FBI* who all on the same day (Feb 17!) reached out to his “friends” & family to question them about him, showing them surveillance photos
“Friends” is in scare quotes, because one of those was *the same FBI CHS (“Source #3”, Jeffery Wiseman) who would go on to offer GP that “burner phone”*, who claimed the FBI wanted to talk to him about a trip they’d taken to a Casino together (which took place on Oct 29, 2016.)
Except that was disingenuous, as that Casino visit had been tape recorded by the FBI by the CHS. The FBI already knew what had been said & even worse, what had been said was *exculpatory*, as GP had denied the Trump campaign was involved with Russia, to a CHS he clearly trusted!
Yet despite the obvious lack of intent (the offer to help with Mifsud, hand over his old cellphone and asking his lawyers for permission to delete his FB account), the failed entrapment, and clearly exculpatory statements made to their CHS, *the SCO charged Papadopoulos anyway*
Since there were no more FBI interviews of GP after Feb 17, 2017 until his arrest, this also means the SCO didn’t even raise the issue of the FB account deletion or the new cellphone to GP or his Counsel before charging him with a potential 20 year felony for them. Unbelievable.
The SCO must have known that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that GP had the intent to obstruct justice *before* they charged him with the crime, based on their interviews with him, and their own failed CHS entrapment attempts. A major abuse of prosecutorial power…
Then, after GP agreed to plead to a single “false statements” §1001 charge, the SCO wrote up the “Statement of the Offense” in Oct 2017, which STILL hinted at obstruction by including the FB account deletion & new cellphone – clearly only to further a misleading media narrative
Planting this misleading narrative is especially egregious in retrospect, knowing what the SCO knew at the time, but didn’t disclose: —GP asked for permission to delete his FB account —GP offered to provide his old cellphone —GP helped with Mifsud & disclosed his travel plans
And as a reminder: the SCO admitted in court much later they knew none of this “amounts to [criminal] obstruction”. If it’s not a crime, what are you doing hinting at it in the Statement of the Offense? The very first SCO prosecution was a preview of the final Mueller report!
And even worse, this misleading hinting at “obstruction” is *at minimum* the THIRD example of a deliberately misleading narrative just in this single Statement of the Offense court filing for @GeorgePapa19. Two examples below
(How many more are there in *other* SCO filings?)
Example 1: GP’s “lies undermined” the FBI’s attempts to detain/interview Mifsud. Ignores that GP proactively offered Mifsud’s location & arrival in the US 2 weeks in advance, and repeated this in another FBI interview on the same day Mifsud was in the US
Example 2: smearing former IG of NORAD Sam Clovis by claiming he encouraged GP to meet with Russians, saying “good work”, when in the full context he said the opposite, that the campaign *shouldn’t meet with Russians until NATO allies were consulted*
Oh & that Sam Clovis example – smearing the former Inspector General of North American Aerospace Defense Command as a Russian Colluder by dishonestly cutting & pasting from his emails to @GeorgePapa19 – is so egregious I’ll be doing a specific follow up THREAD just on that. Soon.
Okay, now let’s talk about Kevin….Clinesmith.
Clinesmith was “the primary FBI attorney” on Crossfire Hurricane, according to Clinesmith himself to the DOJ IG in 2018, and IG’s 2019 org chart shows him as the main attorney as well. Just in case the NYT wants to call him “low level” again.
On Nov 9, 2016, the day after Trump won the 2016 Election, in internal FBI instant messages Clinesmith said “The crazies won finally”, “plus my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating [Trump’s] staff”. On Nov 22, 2016, he also vowed “Viva le resistance”
Clinesmith was part of the SCO team interviewing @GeorgePapa19. GP actually claims Clinesmith “led” the questioning for a team of attorneys and FBI agents and analysts at his main Feb 10, 2017 interview, before his arrest in July 2017 (this is partially supported by the FBI 302)
On June 19, 2017 – just a month before Papadopoulos is charged with “obstruction” for records “altering” records – Clinesmith doctored an email from the CIA making it appear as though @carterwpage was “NOT” a source for the agency, when the CIA’s liaison had said he WAS a source
This is then relied on by an FBI agent (Supervisory Special Agent 2, or SSA 2) swearing out a FISA surveillance renewal against Page, substantially misleading the FISA court about the probable cause to surveil an American citizen (and those he was in contact with). An internal FBI instant message from Clinesmith confirms his intent in altering the email was to avoid disclosing to the FISA court that the target of the surveillance warrant Carter Page was actually a CIA source: “at least we don’t have to have a terrible footnote”
Clinesmith admitted making this change to the email after being confronted by the DOJ IG nearly two years later, making this almost certainly a violation of 18 USC §1519, destruction/concealment of records, given the wording of the statute.
Only a month later – July 27, 2017 – GP is arrested at Dulles Airport and charged the next day with the same crime – 18 USC §1519 destruction/concealment of records – that a month earlier one of the lead FBI Attorney’s investigating GP appears to have committed himself.
Papadopoulos was charged with §1001 false statements because he got a date wrong about when he met Mifsud, and §1519 destruction/obstruction because he got a new Facebook account (and a new cellphone.)
Clinesmith appears to have conspired to lie to the FISA court, and destroyed/concealed a federal document under color of authority with an FBI badge, and he hasn’t been charged with anything. That’s the very definition of a two tiered system of Justice.
What’s worse is that Clinesmith was part of the same SCO team that prosecuted Papadopoulos for a §1519 obstructive alteration crime he appears to have already committed *himself* only a month beforehand, while he was “primary FBI Attorney” on Crossfire Hurricane
Is there a greater prosecutorial malevolence than charging someone with a crime when you surely know that they’re innocent of it, and when you also know you’ve committed that exact same crime yourself? This belongs in an episode of The Shield with Vic Mackey
US Attorney John Durham and AG Bill Barr now have to decide if they’re going to hold anyone accountable for any of this. And the media need to decide if they’re going to keep pretending none of this happened.
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