Special Counsel John Durham found the FBI and Department of Justice “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” when it launched the Russia-Trump investigation.
Durham’s report was made available Monday afternoon after his years-long investigation into the
FBI’s original investigation origins, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” The investigation probed whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in 2016 to influence the presidential election.
The report spans more than 300 pages.
“Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Department of the FBI failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report,” stated the report.
Durham added that his investigation had also found that “senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information from politically-affiliated persons and entities.”
“This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” said the report. “In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents.”
“The Department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them, even when at about the same time the Director, the FBI, and others learned of significant and potentially contrary intelligence,” stated the report.
The special counsel said there is a “continuing need for the FBI and Department to recognize that lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponent caused investigators to fail to consider alternative hypotheses adequately and to act without appropriate objectivity or restraint in pursuing allegations of collusion or conspiracy between a U.S. political campaign and a foreign power.”
“Although recognizing that in hindsight much is clearer, much of this also seems to have been clear at the time,” stated Durham’s report.
“We, therefore, believe it is important to examine past conduct to identify shortcomings and improve how the government carries out its most sensitive functions.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 2019 investigation found no evidence of conspiracy or coordination with Russia
Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into the matter in April 2019. The probe found no evidence of coordination or criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election.
Durham indicted three people during his investigation: Igor Danchenko in November 2021, Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020, and former Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann in September 2021.
Danchenko and Sussmann were found not guilty. Clinesmith entered a guilty plea and served community service.
The report concludes Clinesmith “committed a criminal offense by fabricating language in an email that was material to the FBI obtaining a FISA surveillance order.”
“In other instances, FBI personnel working on that same FISA application displayed, at best, a cavalier attitude towards accuracy and completeness,” said the report.
“FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek renewals of that FISA surveillance while acknowledging — both then and in hindsight — that they did not genuinely believe there was probable cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or knowingly helping another person in such activities,” continued the report. “And certain personnel disregarded significant information that should have prompted investigative restraint and re-examination.”
Durham’s report “does not recommend any wholesale changes in the guidelines and policies that the Department and the FBI now have in place to ensure proper conduct and accountability in how counterintelligence activities are carried out.”