The Justice Department on Monday released a sweeping 300–page report from Special Counsel John Durham, which harshly criticized the FBI for its handling of the Trump–Russia probe and accused the agency of acting with negligence.
Durham, appointed by then–Attorney General William Barr to examine the origins and conduct of the investigation into whether Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia, found that the FBI’s handling of the matter was “seriously deficient” and that the agency failed to uphold its “important mission of strict fidelity to law.”
The report concluded that FBI personnel “displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor toward the information they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons or entities.”
The FBI responded to the report, saying that the missteps identified by Durham have already been addressed.
“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time,” the statement said. “Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented. This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect.”
Durham’s report examines in detail aspects of the FBI investigation code–named “Crossfire Hurricane,” which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller ultimately did not establish any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he found a series of contacts between campaign officials and Russians.
Durham argued that the FBI acted too hastily when it opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation in July 2016, after a Trump campaign aide told an Australian diplomat that the Trump campaign had received an offer from Russia to help Trump by releasing damaging information on his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The report said that the FBI opened a full counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign “based on raw, uncorroborated information,” and that the key agent involved in the decision, Peter Strzok, was later found to have excoriated Trump in private texts to a companion.
Durham’s investigation also found that at the time, neither the FBI nor the CIA had any intelligence suggesting an improper relationship between Trump and Russia. But it noted that it was known by then that Russian intelligence had hacked the Democrats, and Trump had made his infamous comment publicly beseeching Russia to find emails that were missing from a server used by Clinton.
Durham also discussed intelligence gathered in 2016 that suggested that the Russian government believed Clinton had a plan to vilify Trump “by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services,” which the report said the FBI should have given pause to.
Trump allies have been eager to see the report, arguing that Durham would make it clear what the former president has been saying all along — that his campaign did nothing wrong but that the Obama administration was using the power of the federal government to try to influence the 2016 election.
“WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump–Russia Probe! In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
Durham, who lost the only two prosecutions he brought to court, appears to be appealing to the court of public opinion that Trump was treated unfairly by FBI officials who were too quick to unleash the bureau’s investigative powers.