Early Friday morning CNN hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota undercut GOP excitement over a report that a former FBI official has been accused of altering a document tied to the investigation into Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia, saying the employee in question was a lower-level attorney who is no longer with the agency.
On Thursday night, CNN reported that John Durham, the U.S. Attorney tasked by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the 2016 Russia probe, has opened a criminal investigation into an FBI official accused of altering a document pertaining to the original surveillance efforts.
Overnight, more details have emerged that show that the lawyer involved — who has not been named — was far down the chain of command and that the document at issue had no bearing on the final result of the investigation.
As Berman explained, “CNN has exclusive reporting on what will be inside that report and there will be a criminal referral for a former FBI lawyer, a fairly low-level lawyer, for falsifying a document. I understand. changing a document. changing the meaning of what a document is.”
“This is something that Republicans will point to as, ‘oh, my gosh, the republican investigation was flawed,'” he continued. “But our reporting is clear, there’s no way this would change the overall thrust of the investigation, the idea that Russia meddled in the election, and any of the purposes for which the whole thing began.”
As the Washington Post also reports, “The person under scrutiny has not been identified but is a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the FBI, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss material that has not yet been made public.”
“The employee was forced out of the FBI after the incident was discovered, two U.S. officials said. Horowitz found that the employee erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim, they said,” the report continues. “That conduct did not alter Horowitz’s finding that the surveillance application of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had a proper legal and factual basis, the officials said.”