A former FBI line attorney is currently under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in a manner that is believed to have substantially shifted its meaning, CNN reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Although the lawyer in question is said to no longer be working at the bureau, his actions are believed to have substantially manipulated a key investigative document related to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant issued to covertly gather intelligence on the former Trump 2016 election campaign aide.
The news comes as part of an ongoing review by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the FBI’s efforts to obtain FISA court warrants to surveill Page in relation to Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Horowitz, who has conducted around 100 witness interviews throughout his probe, is expected to produce a comprehensive report on allegations of abuse of intelligence gathering on the Trump campaign adviser on 9 December, after which he will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Evidence of the altered document has reportedly been forwarded to John Durham, a federal prosecutor appointed this year to conduct a separate probe into the origins of the Russia investigation.
In April 2019, Attorney General William Barr announced a review of the origins of the FBI's investigation into Moscow’s alleged interference in the US 2016 presidential election and assigned John Durham to examine the intelligence gathering on the Trump team’s interaction with Russian officials.
Durham was set to determine whether the collection of intelligence by the FBI and Justice Department on the Trump election campaign was “lawful”. In October 2019, his review evolved into an ongoing criminal investigation, citing alleged misconduct by the agencies.
Horowitz’s upcoming report is also believed to shed some light on the matter, following repeated claims by Republicans that the FBI had abused the FISA warrants.
Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 provoked a number of accusations of the US president having cooperated with Moscow to spread anti-Clinton and pro-Trump propaganda online, as well as hacking the Democratic National Committee and stealing emails, in order to meddle in the election and boost the victory chances of the Republican candidate.
After two years of work, Mueller’s report concluded that he had not found sufficient evidence to prove that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russian officials to influence the results of the election.