Durham report: Special counsel criticizes FBI for Trump-Russia investigation
A long-anticipated report has harshly criticized the FBI’s conduct of its investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.
Special counsel John Durham stated in a 306-page report that the agency’s investigation lacked “analytical rigor.”
Before beginning an investigation, he decided that the FBI lacked “actual evidence” of collaboration between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
The FBI stated that it had addressed the flaws raised in the study.
Mr Durham, who was nominated by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2019, accused the FBI of relying on “raw, unanalysed, and uncorroborated intelligence” in the report.
Among the investigative faults it made were frequent instances of “confirmation bias,” in which it dismissed material that contradicted the investigation’s starting premise.
The audit found substantial discrepancies in how the FBI conducted the Trump probe when compared to other potentially sensitive investigations, such as those involving Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.
Mr Durham stated that Mrs Clinton and others had received “defensive briefings” from the FBI, which were intended at “those who may be the targets of nefarious activities by foreign powers.” Mr. Trump had not done so.
The study found, “The Department of Justice and the FBI failed to uphold their critical mission of strict adherence to the law.”
The FBI stated that it has “already implemented dozens of corrective actions” in a statement.
“The missteps identified in the report could have been avoided if those reforms had been in place in 2016,” the statement continued.
The FBI investigation into suspected ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, led to the filing of scores of criminal indictments against Trump campaign employees and affiliates for offences ranging from computer hacking to financial fraud.
It did not, however, conclude that the Trump campaign and Russia colluded to influence the election.