House Republicans say the long-awaited report from Special Counsel John Durham bolsters their arguments that federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies are “armed” against political enemies. – a theme that became a major defining belief of their new majority.
“The long-awaited Durham Report confirms what the American people already know; that individuals at the highest levels of government attempted to subvert democracy when they illegally armed the federal government against Donald J. Trump,” House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) said in a statement.
The report was found that federal authorities did not have enough information to open a “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Durham did not recommend and indict the FBI in his report, but said the agency was “seriously deficient” in how it handled certain aspects of the investigation, including reliance on “raw, unanalyzed, and unverified intelligence.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) quoted from the report at a press conference on Tuesday, raising alarm about its assertion that “the FBI has failed to uphold its mission of strict loyalty to the law” and that it identifies an FBI agent who knowingly made a false representation to the FISA Court.
“Where is the responsibility for this? Who is responsible? These are the questions we will continue to ask,” Scalise said.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) invited Durham to speak to his panel’s select subcommittee on arming the government — made at the request of the right before the tumultuous election of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – at the end of the month.
Several members of the House GOP, including those who serve on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, said they had not yet read the more than 300-page report released to the public on Monday, when many were focused on the negotiations. on the debt ceiling.
Yet many Republicans say the report essentially confirms their own biases.
“We all believe or know what’s out there,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “It’s like, ‘Yeah, look? We told you.’”
McCarthy told The Hill that Republicans already know about things that are “very scary.”
“They took the whole country through this, impeachment, everything else when we knew the FBI was never going to do this from the beginning,” McCarthy said.
Democrats, for their part, criticized the report for not providing enough new information.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.) said in a statement that the report amounts to “a political reversal of what the Justice Department Inspector General said publicly in 2019.”
“Mr. Durham has, one last time, over promised and under delivered,” Nadler said before referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who released a report in 2019 on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Nothing in this report changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation, which resulted in numerous convictions, finding more than a hundred contacts between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government , and there are many reasons to believe that Donald Trump has committed obstruction of justice,” Nadler said.
The report from Durham is likely to affect how House Republicans pass legislation, and could also play a role in the GOP leadership primary.
“The report confirms that FBI personnel have repeatedly ignored critical safeguards established to protect Americans from unlawful surveillance,” said House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R- Ohio) in a statement. “Such actions should never have happened, and it is imperative that Congress codify clear guardrails that will prevent future abuses by the FBI and restore public confidence in our law enforcement institutions. .”
The FBI has been ahead of calls for change, releasing a five-page letter responding to Durham detailing the new reforms.
“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 investigated by Special Counsel Durham is the reason that current FBI leadership has already implemented a number of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time,” the FBI said. in a statement. “If reforms were in place in 2016, the errors identified in the report could have been prevented. This report reinforces the importance of ensuring that the FBI continues to do its work with rigor, respect, and professionalism that Americans deserve and rightly expect.
One area likely to be politically affected by the Durham report is in Congress reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows warrantless surveillance of foreigners outside the United States, even if they are communicating with US citizens inside the US – which would allow intelligence agencies to intercept the communications of those citizen without warrant.
“I can assure you, 702 – that will not be rubber stamped,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “There needs to be a serious reboot or elimination of what we saw through FISA 702.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also said the Durham report would likely affect the FISA reauthorization.
In a Twitter thread, Crenshaw said there “must be consequences” based on the report’s findings.
“This report shows how unelected, subversive actors at the highest levels of our government seek to destroy an elected president they hate. They are armed with a lie — the media knows no breath will regurgitate that lie — to get Donald Trump out of the White House,” Crenshaw said.
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