Durham: FBI should not have investigated Trump campaign for Russia ties
Washington, May 15 (EFE).- Special prosecutor John Durham on Monday concluded that the FBI should not have launched an investigation into the alleged ties between former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia in a report published after a four-year examination of the matter.
In the 300-plus-page report, the long-awaited final product of his investigation, Durham said that the FBI used “raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence” information to launch probes of members of Trump’s campaign team and their potential links with the Kremlin.
Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-US Attorney General William Barr during Trump’s mandate to examine the basis for and conduct of the FBI’s investigation into the alleged links between the Republican president’s election campaign and Moscow.
The special prosecutor argued that, after reviewing the FBI probe and other intelligence activities, he concluded that “the Department (of Justice) and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.”
Durham said in the report that FBI officials showed a serious lack of analytical rigor in their treatment of information they received, especially related to people and entities with political affiliations.
In sum, the FBI’s handling of several key aspects of the case were seriously deficient, according to Durham, who wrote that the FBI’s failure to fulfill its responsibility to the public had caused severe harm to the law enforcement agency’s reputation.
The report said that investigators repeatedly relied on “confirmation bias,” and ignored or rationalized away evidence that contradicted their supposition of the existence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.
Barr had opened the investigation as a result of Trump’s insistence that his campaign had been the target of spying by US intelligence agencies before the 2016 election on the orders of then-President Barack Obama.
The DOJ investigated itself during the course of its probe, given that the alleged spying had been conducted by the FBI, an agency that Trump was very critical of starting with his taking office.
With the investigation, Trump intended to get to the bottom of what led to the so-called Russia probe headed by Robert Mueller, who worked for the first two years of Trump’s presidency and finished his task in March 2019, concluding that neither Trump nor anyone in his circle worked with the Kremlin to ensure his victory in the 2016 election.
Although Durham’s report is quite critical of the FBI, his lackluster prosecution record in the probe and the fact that the activities he cites were already examined closely by the DOJ’s inspector general will likely minimize its impact.
Since Durham’s probe was launched, the FBI has announced many corrective actions and policies, including protocols to ensure the accuracy of secret surveillance activities for monitoring suspected terrorists and spies.
“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 FBI said in a statement.
The agency also noted that Durham’s report focuses on the FBI’s leadership before current Director Christopher Wray took the job in 2017.
Since the Republicans retook control of the House of Representatives in the November 2022 mid-term elections, they have launched congressional investigations into what they say is the manipulation and “weaponization” for Democratic political ends of federal agencies, including the FBI.