Donald Trump lauded the recently released report from special counsel John Durham regarding the 2016 FBI probe into the Trump campaign for its Russia ties, blasting political enemies as “scum” and “cockroaches all over Washington.”
“The Durham Report spells out in great detail the Democrat Hoax that was perpetrated upon me and the American people,” the former president wrote on Truth Social on Monday, calling it “the Crime of the Century!”
Mr Durham, whose report came out on Monday, was appointed by the Trump administration in 2019 to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which was already scrutinised by a 2019 investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
The Durham report ultimately recommended no new charges and featured information that was already mostly known, failing to uncover the kind of sweeping conspiracy Mr Trump and conservative politicians have alleged was behind the original Russia investigation.
During the four-year special counsel investigation, Mr Durham only brought a few cases, most of which failed. The only conviction so far has been an FBI lawyer, who pleaded guilty to doctoring an email used to secure a surveillance warrant against a former Trump campaign adviser. The plea involved no prison time. Two other cases – one against, Michael Sussman, a lawyer who passed a tip to the FBI about a potential link between Trump and a Russian bank, and another against Igor Danchenko, a researcher behind the Steele dossier – both ended in acquittals.
However, the Durham report was sharply critical of the FBI’s handling of the Trump case, arguing the agency suffered from “confirmation bias” and let “raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence” fuel a probe into the Trump campaign.
It faulted the FBI for offering the Clinton campaign a defensive briefing when it suspected a foreign entity of trying to buy influence over the campaign, while not offering similar treatment to the Trump campaign, and the report recommended the FBI create a position to scrutinise and challenge major steps taken in politically sensitive investigations.
The special counsel report acknowledged there was “no question the F.B.I. had an affirmative obligation to closely examine” the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, after an Australian diplomat tipped off the agency that the campaign seemed to be aware in advance that Russia would released damaging, potentially hacked, info about the Clinton campaign.
A 2019 inspector general report from the DoJ previously investigated the Russia investigation, finding no “documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct,” but arguing the FBI failed in handling information used to secure wiretaps, including relying on parts of the Steele dossier even though there were reasons to doubt its credibility.
The FBI said in a statement this week to The Washington Post that the 2019 inspector general report “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,” it argued. “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.”