WASHINGTON: The FBI investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign was based on flimsy evidence and seriously flawed, an independent US prosecutor said in a report published Monday.
Special Counsel John Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-president Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr to address allegations — made most prominently by Trump himself — that the Russia investigation was a political “witch hunt.”
Durham’s more than 300-page report follows a four-year investigation that continued under Barr’s successor, Attorney General Merrick Garland, an appointee of Democratic President Joe Biden.
The long-awaited report was highly critical of the origins of “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI’s probe into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“Neither US law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the report said.
Durham, a former federal prosecutor, also said the FBI and Justice Department had displayed a double standard in the manner in which they investigated Trump and his 2016 rival for the White House, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” the report said.
Durham said 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 led investigators to “act without appropriate objectivity or restraint in pursuing allegations of collusion or conspiracy between a US political campaign