Home / News / Durham report faults FBI’s Trump

Durham report faults FBI’s Trump

May 29, 2023May 29, 2023


The long-awaited report from Special Counsel John Durham echoes prior conclusions from the Justice Department's inspector general.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC 2023, Saturday, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

By Josh Gerstein and Betsy Woodruff Swan

05/15/2023 03:46 PM EDT

Updated:05/15/2023 04:33 PM EDT

Link Copied

A report from Special Counsel John Durham accuses the FBI of a double standard for aggressively probing ties between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign while soft-pedaling similar claims about foreigners seeking influence over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Durham's long-awaited, 306-page report slams the FBI's handling of the Trump-Russia probe as deeply flawed. But Durham's investigation into the origins of that probe resulted in few criminal charges, and the release of his report is unlikely to offset his high-profile failures in court. He charged just three defendants during his four-year investigation; juries quickly acquitted two of them, while a third pleaded guilty and avoided prison time.

"The objective facts show that the FBI's handling of important aspects of the Crossfire Hurricane matter were seriously deficient," Durham wrote, referring to the code name for the counterintelligence probe of links between Russian officials and Trump associates.

Durham's report also bemoaned investigators’ "disparate treatment" of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. The report describes various alleged efforts by foreign governments or individuals to influence Clinton through campaign donations and notes that the Clinton campaign was briefed on some such efforts, while Trump and his aides were not briefed about the FBI's suspicions regarding his bid.

Durham's report stops just short of saying that political bias drove the FBI's decisions, saying that while there was evidence of strong political views on the part of some investigators, the FBI's handling of the Trump probe exhibited clear "confirmation bias" in favor of a likely plot by the Russians.

Attorney General Merrick Garland received the report on Friday afternoon, read it over the weekend, and sent copies of it to Capitol Hill Monday afternoon, a senior Justice Department official said.

While following through on his promise to make Durham's report public, Garland released no comment indicating whether he agreed or disagreed with any or all of its conclusions, although his letter transmitting it to Congress stressed that he had not intervened to block any action Durham sought to take during his inquiry.

Many of the findings in Durham's report echo the conclusions of a report issued in 2019 by the Justice Department's inspector general, which found the FBI badly botched its handling of secret surveillance applications for Carter Page, an energy analyst who served for a time on a Trump campaign advisory board.

As a result of the inspector general's report and a broader examination of the FBI's handling of surveillance requests, FBI Director Chris Wray ordered dozens of changes to the bureau's procedures, auditing and training for submissions to the closed-door court that issues such warrants.

"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," the FBI said in a statement Monday afternoon. "Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented. 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."

Link Copied