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John Durham to testify over FBI mishandling of Trump investigation

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 27, 2023

Special Counsel John Durham, having penned a scathing report on the questionable beginnings of the Trump-Russia probe in a case known as Crossfire Hurricane, is slated to testify before two top House committees.

The report, released last week, criticized the Department of Justice and the FBI for having an unjustified basis for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation and failing to meet their mission of maintaining "strict fidelity to the law," as reported by the Daily Mail.

Durham was commissioned by former Attorney General Bill Barr in 2019 to examine potential misconduct related to the Crossfire Hurricane operation. Four years into his investigation, Durham concluded that the FBI initiated this flawed probe "based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence."

The investigation states, "Indeed, based on the evidence gathered in the multiple exhaustive and costly federal investigations of these matters, including the instant investigation, neither U.S. 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," CNN reported.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), presided over by Rep. Mike Turner (OH-10), confirmed this week that it will hold a hearing with Special Counsel John Durham on Tuesday, June 20.

Durham's Testimony Awaited by House Judiciary Committee

On Wednesday, June 21, Durham is expected to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. The committee's Chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, (OH-04), previously affirmed that he would invite Durham to testify.

Chairman Jordan issued a letter to the Department of Justice last week expressing his request. It was reported that the DOJ has agreed not to obstruct Durham's visit to Capitol Hill.

Clarification Sought by Senators on Non-Cooperation in Durham Investigation

Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are urging Durham to clarify further why key FBI officials, including former director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe, opted not to cooperate with his investigation into the commencement of the Trump-Russia collusion probe.

Durham issued approximately 2,800 subpoenas, executed 500 search warrants, and conducted hundreds of interviews with important figures, including Hillary Clinton, Trump campaign officials, and numerous involved FBI officials.

Despite the efforts, it is notable that several high-ranking officials within the FBI at the time chose not to cooperate with Durham's investigation.

Key figures, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strozk, Bill Preistap, Kevin Clinesmith, who Durham prosecuted for illegal email alteration and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, were not interviewed. This lack of cooperation was dubbed as 'odd' by the Republican senators.

In a letter to Durham, Sens. Johnson and Grassley expressed worry over several top former officials involved in Crossfire Hurricane showing partial or no cooperation with the investigation.

The senators found it perplexing that individuals could partially or fully avoid cooperation with Durham's office, given his power to compel testimony and records. They urge Durham to provide information on whether subpoenas were issued to these individuals and if the DOJ obstructed any of his office's investigative procedures.

Durham's Report Calls for Better 'Analytical Rigor' and a Curb on 'Confirmation Bias'

While the report does not suggest any sweeping changes to the Department of Justice's guidelines or policies, it does call for a "continuing need" for the agencies to address the absence of "analytical rigor" and a seeming "confirmation bias."

In a statement to Daily Mail, the FBI addressed the report's criticisms, claiming that corrective actions have already been implemented to prevent a recurrence of the errors made in 2016.

The FBI asserted, "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."

According to the Bureau, if these reforms had been established in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been averted. The FBI statement reaffirms the importance of conducting FBI operations with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and expect.