The FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign lacks “actual evidence” and is seriously flawed, independent US attorney John Durham said in a report published on Monday.
The nearly 300-page report marks the end of a four-year investigation launched in May 2019. Then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham, a veteran prosecutor, to investigate possible wrongdoing by the FBI.
At the time, the FBI had just launched the first phase of its “Crossfire Hurricane” inquiry into potential contacts between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
That Crossfire Hurricane investigation would later be handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller, who in March 2019 concluded there was no evidence of a criminal collusion between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Russia.
FBI under heavy criticism
Durham was initially critical of the FBI’s investigation.
“Neither US law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appeared to have any real evidence of collusion in their possession at the start of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” his report said.
Durham also said that “senior FBI staff have demonstrated a serious lack of analytical rigor in the information they receive, particularly information from politically connected persons and entities.
It led investigators to “act without proper intent or deterrence in pursuing allegations of collusion or collusion between a US political campaign and a foreign power,” he said.
In response to the report, the FBI said it has implemented several corrective actions that have been in place for some time.
Durham emphasized the double standard
Durham, a former federal prosecutor, said the FBI and Justice Department showed a double standard in the way they investigated Trump and his 2016 opponent for the White House, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated the Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also represents a marked departure from how it has been approached in the past. matters involving possible attempts at foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” the report said.
Durham also said that Clinton and other officials received defensive warnings about potential targets of foreign interference, while Trump received no such warning before the FBI opened investigations into the four. members of his campaign.
Trump welcomed the report
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, welcomed Durham’s report in a post on his Truth Social platform.
“WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes that the FBI should never have launched the Trump-Russia Probe!” Trump said.
“In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed today by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!” he added, apparently referring to the many ongoing criminal investigations targeting him.
dh/fb (AFP, Reuters)