The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) responded to Special Counsel John Durham’s report on Monday by acknowledging mistakes in its 2016-2017 investigation of the Trump campaign and noting that the agency had rolled out reforms in response to the mistakes.
“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,” the FBI wrote in acknowledging the findings of Durham’s report.
In his report, the special counsel found flaws in the FBI’s decision to surveil the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election, from July 2016 to May 2017, in an investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane over alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian entities.
Durham indicated that what caused the FBI to break its own rules in pursuing this unjustified surveillance included agency personnel’s confirmation bias against then-Republican candidate Donald Trump, over-reliance on information provided by Trump’s political opponents, and a lack of attention to accuracy and completeness in pursuing surveillance measures.
Durham recommended that the FBI can take potential reforms to improve sourcing practices, and put checks and balances on potential bias in agency personnel.
According to the FBI’s letter, these improvements included: installing more rigorous requirements for applying for surveillance, requiring personnel training for surveillance applications, updating agency guidelines on vetting confidential human resources, requiring additional approval for opening “sensitive” investigative measures, and expanding its internal oversight and auditing programs.
The FBI added that the questionable conduct uncovered in Durham’s report occurred under the previous leadership and that “all senior executives overseeing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation have left the FBI as a result of termination, resignation, retirement.”
Durham was tasked in 2019 with reviewing the 2016–17 FBI investigation of alleged nefarious ties between candidate and later President Donald Trump and Russia. In October 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham as a special counsel on the investigation, which, after three years, led to Monday’s report.
In his report, Durham concluded that “neither U.S. nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
“As the more complete record now shows, there are specific areas of Crossfire Hurricane activity in which the FBI badly underperformed and failed, not only in its duties to the public, but also in preventing the severe reputational harm that has befallen the FBI as a consequence of Crossfire Hurricane,” Durham wrote in the report.
In a statement published on Truth Social following the release of the Durham report, former President Donald Trump called for congressional action in response to the Durham report, which he says shows the existence of an effort to interfere in the 2016 election.
“The Durham Report spells out in great detail the Democrat Hoax that was perpetrated upon me and the American people. This is 2020 Presidential Election Fraud, just like ‘stuffing’ the ballot boxes, only more so,” Trump wrote. “This totally illegal act had a huge impact on the Election. With an honest Media, we are looking at the Crime of the Century!”
Around the time of the Durham report’s publication on Monday, House Judiciary Republicans requested testimony from Durham in a hearing planned for next week.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called for accountability over what he calls “an extreme abuse of power.”