John Durham releases final report, concludes FBI had no verified intel when it opened probe on Trump
The FBI has long defended its conduct in probe, but Durham said his probe provided a "sobering" look at misconduct.
Special Counsel John Durham released a damning final report Monday after more than three years investigating the Russia collusion probe, declaring the FBI had no verified intelligence or evidence when it opened the Crossfire Hurricane probe of President Donald Trump's campaign in the summer of 2016. The prosecutor, however, recommended no new criminal charges.
"Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," Durham wrote in a 300-plus page report sent to Congress and others and obtained by Just the News.
DOJ was slated to make the report public later Monday.
The prosecutor faulted the department and the FBI for failing to follow their own standards and allowing a probe to persist, including the surveillance of an American citizen, without basis under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
"Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we concluded the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report," Durham wrote.
"The FBI personnel also repeatedly disregarded important requirements when they continued to seek renewals of that FISA surveillance while acknowledging – then and in hindsight – that they did not genuinely believe there was probably cause to believe that the target was knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of foreign power."
You can read the full report here:
The report's release touched off instant outrage and impact on Capitol Hill, where House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan tweeted he planned to summon Durham for testimony next week.
The FBI immediately reacted, saying Durham's findings justified the changes that current Director Christopher Wray made after taking over from fired Director James Comey.
"The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time. Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented," the FBI said.
"This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect."
Durham specifically faulted the FBI for relying on evidence from the campaign of 2016 Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, including the now-discredited Steele dossier, saying leadership lacked the necessary distrust of politically motivated allegations.
"Our investigation also revealed that senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons and entities," he wrote. "This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel Mueller's investigation."
"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 of the FBI and others learned of significant and potentially contrary intelligence."
The special prosecutor pointedly highlighted what he portrayed as a dual system of justice, noting the FBI never opened a counterintelligence probe of Clinton's campaign, despite receiving intelligence she had authorized a dirty trick to paint Trump as a stooge for Russian President Vladimir Putin to impact the outcome of the election.
"The FBl's actions with respect to other highly significant intelligence it received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server," the report concluded.
"Unlike the FBI's opening of a full investigation of unknown members of the Trump campaign based on raw, uncorroborated information, in this separate matter involving a purported Clinton campaign plan, the FBI never opened any type of inquiry, issued any taskings, employed any analytical personnel, or produced any analytical products in connection with the information.
"This lack of action was despite the fact that the significance of the Clinton plan intelligence was such as to have prompted the Director of the CIA to brief the President, Vice President, Attorney General, Director of the FBI, and other senior government officials about its content within days of its receipt," Durham also wrote. "It was also of enough importance for the CIA to send a formal written referral memorandum to Director Corney and the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, for their consideration and action."
Durham also laid out significant evidence that Strzok, who led the Crossfire Hurricane team but was fired from the FBI, worked with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, to go around the counterintelligence chief of the FBI, Bill Priestap, his boss, to keep the investigation going by getting the approval of then FBI-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who also was later fired.
The report quoted Priestap as identifying "instances when Strzok shared information directly with McCabe before Priestap could provide the information to McCabe himself. Priestap said these actions drove him 'insane.' He also told the Office that Strzok was the worst offender in this regard and that these events occurred mostly when he (Priestap) wanted to go in one direction and they (Page and Strzok) disagreed and thus went around him."
The report also divulged that the handling agent who first was contacted July 5, 2016, by ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier funded by Hillary Clinton's campaign, appeared to be aware that Clinton's campaign was connected to his work, including the notation "HC" in his notes. That agent said his initial reaction to Steele's allegations of Trump-Russia collusion was one of "disbelief" and that Steele was "politically motivated" but he passed the allegations up the FBI chain anyway.
"Notwithstanding his skepticism about the reporting, Handling Agent-I deemed the allegations to be something he could not arbitrarily discount, " the report said.