Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice John Durham released his final report on the FBI’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, concluding that the FBI did not have any “factual evidence” to investigate in the first place.
In 2019, Durham was selected to investigate the origins of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. The special counsel released his long-awaited 300-page report on Monday, four years after he launched an investigation into the FBI’s decision to examine whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Durham argued that Donald Trump had been treated unfairly by the FBI which misused its investigative powers to try and influence the 2016 election.
Criticizing the FBI and DOJ for the probe, Durham wrote, “The (Justice) Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to law. Senior FBI personnel displays a serious lack of analytical rigor toward the information they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons or entities.”
“Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” Durham said.
The special counsel added that there was “significant reliance on investigative leads” that were either provided or funded by Trump’s opponents.
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Durham’s report largely criticizes the FBI’s senior officials at the time the Trump-Russia investigation began.
Peter Strzok, the deputy assistant director for counterintelligence at the time, was condemned in the report for his “pronounced hostile feelings toward Trump” and for opening the investigation “without ever having spoken to the person who provided the information” that claimed Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia.
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” the report said.
In a statement released by the FBI in response to Durham’s critiques, they said, “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.”
“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,” the statement added.