FIRST ON FOX: Special Counsel John Durham found that the Department of Justice and FBI “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” when it launched the Trump-Russia investigation.
Fox News Digital obtained Durham’s report Monday afternoon after his years-long investigation into the origins of the FBI’s original investigation, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” That investigation looked into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Durham gave his final report to the Justice Department, which released it Monday afternoon. The report spans more than 300 pages.
“Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report,” the report said.
Durham said his 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.”
“This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” the report said. “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 report said.
Durham is referring to past FBI leadership in his report – specifically former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Durham’s report said officials too easily accepted information from Trump’s opponents as they investigated claims of a connection to Russia. (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images / File)
Reacting to the report, the FBI said in a statement: “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. 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.”
Still, Durham said there is a “continuing need for the FBI and the Department to recognize that lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, and an over-willigness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents caused investigators to fail to adequately consider alternative hypotheses 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,” Durham’s report said. “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 John Durham was appointed in 2019 after the release of the Mueller report to probe the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. (Ron Sachs / Consolidated News Pictures / Getty Images / File)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his investigation into a possible Trump-Russia connection in April 2019, which yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Durham indicted three people as part of his investigation: former Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann in September 2021, Igor Danchenko in November 2021 and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Durham’s report implied that former FBI Director James Comey, above, ignored intelligence that was contrary to the debunked theory of Trump-Russia collusion. (Getty Images / File)
Sussmann and Danchenko were found to be not guilty. Clinesmith pleaded guilty and served community service time.
The report said 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,” it said.
“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 helping another person in such activities,” the report continued. “And certain personnel disregarded significant exculpatory 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.”