Special counsel John Durham released his final report on Monday in which he casts doubt about the FBI’s decision to launch a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Durham finds FBI rushed to investigate Trump: The special counsel’s office “conducted more than 480 interviews,” and “obtained and reviewed more than one million documents consisting of more than six million pages,” while also issuing 190 grand jury subpoenas, according to the report.
The Durham report, however, relies on many public findings — including problems with the investigation that were detailed in a 2019 investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz — to question the bureau’s decision to open a full investigation, one the watchdog found to be legal and unbiased.
And while Durham acknowledges the FBI did have reason to open a preliminary review or investigation, he accuses the bureau of failing to uphold its “important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.”
Claims FBI had no real evidence of collusion before launching probe: Durham concluded that federal investigators did not have “any actual evidence of collusion” between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia before launching a yearslong probe into the matter.
That finding was at the core of Durham’s most scathing criticism of the FBI’s decision to launch a full investigation.
Durham knocked the FBI for failing to take several steps before launching the Trump campaign investigations, such as interviewing relevant witnesses, reviewing its own intelligence databases or using “any of the standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI in evaluating raw intelligence.”
He suggested that if the FBI had taken those steps, it would have found that US intelligence agencies did not have any evidence tying Trump to Russian leadership officials.
FBI failed to corroborate Steele dossier allegations: The report is critical of the Steele dossier, the explosive document that had been used by the FBI to bolster its case for probable cause to secure surveillance warrants against a former Trump campaign adviser.
Crossfire Hurricane investigation “did not and could not corroborate any of the substantive allegations” contained in the controversial Steele dossier, which was used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant, Durham found.
Witness testimony exposed the FBI’s overreliance on the dossier as it sought court approval to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser in 2016. Other FBI officials described rookie mistakes that undercut the bureau’s brief inquiry into a possible Trump-Russia internet backchannel. At closing arguments during one of last year’s trials, Durham told jurors that “the FBI failed” on many occasions.