Kevin Clinesmith, a former senior FBI lawyer who was sentenced to 12 months probation last January after pleading guilty to a felony in connection with the falsified information used to acquire the FISA warrant used to surveil marginal Trump campaign figure Carter Paige in relation to the Trump-Russia investigation, was restored as a member in “good standing” by the District of Columbia Bar Association’s discipline committee.
Maybe there is a a good reason for this, but it seems very strange.
The Bar did not seek Clinesmith’s disbarment which lawyers convicted of felonies involving the justice system typically face. He has not even finished serving out his probation as a convicted felon. After the negative publicity about the apparently rigged FISA process (the objective was to “get Trum”), the bar temporarily suspended Clinesmith pending a review and hearing. In September, Clinesmith’s suspension was ended with time served and his status to “active member in good standing.”
It appears, however, that Clinesmith may have violated the terms of his sentence and has not completed the community service requirement of volunteering 400 hours. Clinesmith volunteered at Street Sense Media in Washington but stopped working at the nonprofit group last summer. Clinesmith is also potentially facing further problems as a result of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation, which includes looking into whether he was involved in any other surveillance abuses tied to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.
I have worked with and for the D.C. Bar for decades as a legal ethics consultant and advisor, and I would dearly love to have the reasoning behind this decision explained. However, absent a court opinion, the reasoning behind this strange decision will not be explained, under usual bar policies. Thus we are left to speculate.
What does the slap on the wrist to a lawyer who broke the law in an effort to bring down President Trump suggest to you?
I suppose I should note that I believe the organized attempt by members of various government agencies, including lawyers, to create public distrust of an elected President and to actively seek evidence to support a politically motivated impeachment and conviction posed far more of a threat to democracy than a few hundred idiots storming the Capitol.