The FBI lacked “real evidence” to begin investigating potential links between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, a report concluded.
US Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation also found the office relied too heavily on advice provided by the former president’s political opponents before launching its preliminary “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.
Mr Trumpwho will likely use the results as political fuel as he seeks re-election in 2024, wrote on his Truth Social platform: “WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes that the FBI would never have had to launch the Trump-Russia In other words, the American public has been scammed, just as they are being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA !”
The report marks the end of a four-year investigation launched in May 2019 when then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Mr Durham to investigate potential missteps by the FBI in launching Crossfire Hurricane.
This investigation will then be entrusted to special counsel Robert Mueller, who in March 2019 concluded that there was no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
In his new 306-page report, Mr Durham concluded that US intelligence and law enforcement had no “real
evidence” of collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia before the launch of Crossfire Hurricane.
The report criticized the FBI for launching a full-fledged investigation based on “raw, unanalyzed and unsubstantiated intelligence”, saying the speed with which it did so deviated from the norm.
He also said investigators repeatedly relied on “confirmation bias,” ignoring or rationalizing evidence that undermined their premise of a Trump-Russia conspiracy as they pushed the investigation.
He also accused the bureau of treating the 2016 Trump investigation differently from other politically sensitive investigations,
including several involving the former president’s Democratic rival hillary clinton.
For example, he said that Mrs. Clinton and other officials had received defensive information about being possible targets of foreign interference, while Mr. Trump had received no such information until after the FBI is only investigating four members of his campaign.
In response to the report, the FBI said it had already implemented dozens of corrective actions that have been put in place
for some time.
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Mr. Durham’s report was delivered to Congress on Monday without redactions after being delivered to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday.
Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said on Twitter that he had invited Mr Durham to testify about his report next week.
The report comes as Mr Trump plans to run for re-election in 2024 despite facing criminal charges in New York.
Meanwhile, two federal investigations led by Special Counsel Jack Smith are examining both Mr. Trump’s retention of classified documents and his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Trump had hoped Mr Durham would release his report ahead of the 2020 election, in what he believed would be a blow to of President Joe Biden campaign.