Trump: US special counsel slams FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion

WASHINGTON: The FBI investigation into the alleged collusion between Russia and Donald AssetThe 2016 presidential campaign was based on flimsy and seriously flawed evidence, an independent US prosecutor said in a report released Monday.
Special Advisor John Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-President Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr to respond to allegations – made mostly by Trump himself – that the Russia probe was a political “witch hunt”.
Durham’s more than 300-page report follows a four-year investigation that continued under Barr’s successor, Attorney General Merrick Garland, appointed by Democratic President Joe Biden.
The long-awaited report was highly critical of the origins of “Crossfire Hurricane”, the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the intelligence community appear to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings early in the investigation of Hurricane Crossfire,” the report said.
Durham, a former federal prosecutor, also said the FBI and Justice Department showed a double standard in how they investigated Trump and his 2016 White House rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. .
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and unsubstantiated intelligence also reflected a notable departure from how it approached the prior issues involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans targeting the Clinton campaign,” the report said.
Durham said “senior FBI officials demonstrated a serious lack of analytical rigor with respect to information they received, particularly information received from politically affiliated individuals and entities.”
This led investigators to “act without proper objectivity or restraint in pursuing allegations of collusion or conspiracy between a US political campaign and a foreign power,” he said.
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, welcomed the Durham 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 investigation!” said Trump.
“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!” he added, apparently referring to multiple ongoing criminal investigations against him.
In a statement, the FBI said the bureau’s current leadership has implemented dozens of corrective measures.
“Had these reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been avoided,” the FBI said in a statement.
Durham’s task, according to an order from then-Attorney General Barr, was to investigate the origins of Crossfire Hurricane, which was launched in July 2016, as well as the subsequent investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller launched in May 2017.
Both focused on the Russian hack and manipulation of social media in favor of Trump in 2016, and the multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians.
The Mueller investigation expanded that to cover Trump’s alleged obstructive acts.
Ultimately, Mueller secured the convictions of six Trump campaign staff and issued indictments against 25 Russians.
But Mueller found no evidence of criminal cooperation with Russia by the Trump campaign, and his evidence of alleged obstruction by Trump was dismissed by Barr.
Durham’s investigation led to the indictment of a Russian national and a prominent Washington lawyer for making false statements to the FBI, but both were acquitted.
The Russian, Igor Danchenko, has been accused of providing information for a report containing unverified salacious information about Trump and Russia, known as the “Steele dossier”, compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele.


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