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Special Counsel Blasts FBI, Suggests No Major Fixes After 4-Year Probe

John Durham, a special counsel appointed in the Trump administration, issued a critical report on how the FBI handled allegations linking Donald Trump to Russia in 2016, ending four years of work after losing the two cases he filed, the Wall Street Journal reports. Durham, former top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, repeated prior criticisms faulting the FBI. He said the bureau swiftly pursued a vague tip about potential contacts between a Trump campaign aide and Russia authorities in 2016, even though the bureau had no information to corroborate any such contact. The Justice Department’s inspector general issued a similar conclusion in 2019 but found the investigation justified. Durham said the FBI was more skeptical of allegations of foreign influence on the Hillary Clinton campaign than on the Trump campaign in 2016. The bureau didn’t aggressively pursue evidence of two instances in which foreign governments were potentially planning to contribute to Clinton to gain influence. The speed with which the FBI started to probe the Trump campaign “based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached” other allegations, Durham said.

Durham said the FBI didn’t rigorously analyze information it received, especially from people and groups with political affiliation, prolonging the investigation and prompting the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Durham said the FBI was overly reliant on investigative leads from Trump’s political opponents. Since the Russia inquiry, FBI Director Christopher Wray made dozens of changes un how the bureau seeks secret surveillance warrants and handles other matters after the DOJ inspector general cited flaws in its efforts to monitor a former Trump campaign adviser. Durham didn’t recommend other major policy changes. He said his report was based on more than 480 interviews, a review of more than six million pages of documents, 190 subpoenas and other actions. He said it was designed to help department leadership determine how the FBI “can do a better, more credible job” responding to politically charged allegations in the future. Trump once predicted that Durham’s probe would reveal the “crime of the century." On Truth Social, Trump wrote: “WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe! In other words, the American Public was scammed."


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