John Durham, the Trump-era special counsel who for four years has pursued a politically fraught investigation into the Russia inquiry, accused the F.B.I. of having “discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia” in a final report made public on Monday.
Mr. Durham’s 306-page report revealed little substantial new information about the inquiry, known as Crossfire Hurricane, and it failed to produce the kinds of blockbuster revelations impugning the bureau of politically motivated misconduct that former President Donald J. Trump and his allies suggested Mr. Durham would uncover.
Instead, the report — released without substantive comment or any redactions by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland — largely recounted previously exposed flaws in the inquiry, while concluding that the F.B.I. suffered from confirmation bias and a “lack of analytical rigor” as it pursued leads about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.
“An objective and honest assessment of these strands of information should have caused the F.B.I. to question not only the predication for Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political or other purposes,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, it did not.”
Mr. Durham said he was not recommending any “wholesale changes” to F.B.I. rules for politically sensitive investigations and for national-security wiretaps, which have already been tightened in recent years. He did recommend that the Justice Department consider assigning an official to internally challenge steps taken in politically sensitive investigations.
The report amounted, in part, as a defense and justification of a lengthy investigation that developed only two cases, both of which ended in acquittal. [Continue reading…]