Special counsel John Durham will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on his report excoriating the FBI’s “seriously flawed” investigation of whether former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, The Epoch Times has confirmed.
The hearing, scheduled for June 21, will follow Durham’s closed-door briefing with the House Intelligence Committee on June 20.
Durham was appointed in October 2020 by then-Attorney General William Barr to conduct an independent inquiry of whether the law was violated by investigators in the Trump-Russia probe, which the FBI internally dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.”
After nearly three years of investigation, Durham released his much-anticipated report (pdf) on May 15, finding that the FBI failed to uphold its “important mission of strict fidelity to the law” in carrying out its investigation.
That same day, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent the special counsel a letter inviting him to testify on his findings at a committee hearing.
In his report, Durham noted that there were clear discrepancies between the FBI’s handling of election interference allegations concerning Trump and those related to his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.
He revealed that in late 2014, the FBI learned from a credible informant that a foreign government was planning to send an unnamed individual to contribute to Clinton’s anticipated presidential campaign to “gain influence with Clinton should she win the presidency.”
The information was independently corroborated by the FBI and a full counterintelligence investigation was opened. However, when expedited authorization was sought for a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) surveillance order, the application remained “in limbo” at FBI Headquarters for about four months.
The reason for the delay, an agent told Durham, was because “everyone was ‘super more careful’ and ‘scared with the big name [Clinton]’ involved.” The agent added that the FBI was “‘tippy-toeing’ around HRC because there was a chance she would be the next President.”
Yet when it came to the allegations against Trump, Durham found that the FBI had little evidence to support opening an investigation, but did so anyway, relying heavily on unsubstantiated information provided or funded by Trump’s political opponents.
Durham also noted that the Crossfire Hurricane investigators pursued a FISA surveillance order against Trump campaign associate Carter Page despite acknowledging that there was likely no probable cause to suspect he was a foreign agent, and that they disregarded “significant” exculpatory information that “should have prompted investigative restraint and re-examination.”
But even though his overall report reads as a scathing indictment of the FBI’s conduct, Durham recommended against “any wholesale changes in the guidelines and policies that the Department [of Justice] and the FBI now have in place.”
New rules and regulations, he reasoned, would be a “fruitless exercise” if agents were not already committed to the bureau’s guiding principles of “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity” and protecting the American people.
“The answer is not the creation of new rules but a renewed fidelity to the old.”
FBI Recognizes ‘Missteps’
In response to Durham’s criticism, the FBI issued a brief statement acknowledging that “missteps” were made in the bureau’s rush to investigate Trump.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Despite the FBI’s assurances of reform, Republicans have been disinclined to take the bureau’s word for it.
Commenting on the report on Fox Business’ “Varney and Co.,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he found it “heartbreaking” to see the Justice Department and FBI “so politicized and weaponized.”
“We have FBI whistleblowers coming forward, one after the other, describing how today, under Joe Biden, they are treating the FBI as the political enforcement arm of the DNC.”
Likewise, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said Durham’s report only confirmed the suspicions that had been long held by the Republicans on his committee and needed to be addressed not only internally at the FBI but also by Congress.
“The report confirms that FBI personnel repeatedly disregarded critical protections established to protect the American people from unlawful surveillance,” he said in a statement. “Such actions should never have occurred, and it is essential that Congress codifies clear guardrails that prevent future FBI abuses and restores the public’s trust in our law enforcement institutions.”