A spokesperson from the office of former President Donald Trump on Monday stated that the investigative report released by Special Counsel John Durham “proves” a coordinated effort in the federal government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
“WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe! In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!” Trump, currently a Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential race, wrote in a statement on Truth Social on Monday.
“I, and much more importantly, the American public have been victims of this long-running and treasonous charade started by the Democrats—started by Comey,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Digital, referring to James Comey, who headed the FBI during the agency’s investigation of Trump, before Trump fired him on May 5, 2017.
“There must be a heavy price to pay for putting our country through this,” Trump said.
The former president’s response came shortly after the Department of Justice (DOJ) published (pdf) the long-awaited Durham report on Monday afternoon. The report found flaws in the FBI’s 2016–17 investigation into the Trump campaign, which, Durham wrote, was based on unvetted allegations that Trump colluded with Russian entities.
The Trump campaign said the report shows the existence of a coordinated campaign to remove Trump from the presidency in 2016.
“This report proves there was a coordinated effort by Never Trump activists in the government to falsely accuse President Trump through lies and deceit,” Steven Cheung, Trump campaign spokesman, told The Epoch Times in an email statement following the release of the Durham report.
“The Russia Collusion Hoax was masterminded by Deep State officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to take away the Presidency from President Trump and the American people,” the spokesperson said.
The Durham Report
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 a special counsel on this 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.” Crossfire Hurricane is the FBI codename for the agency’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
The FBI had “significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents,” the report reads.
Furthermore, Durham’s report found that agents “repeatedly disregarded important requirements” when they made surveillance requests on the Trump campaign (initiated under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), in the absence of a “genuine belief” that there was a probable cause to investigate the target.
It added: “Our investigation also revealed 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.”
On these grounds, the Special Counsel wrote in his report that DOJ and the FBI “failed to uphold their important mission” of following the law in its investigation of the Trump campaign and recommended potential reforms to the agency in handling “politically charged allegations in the future.”
“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.
‘The Real Collusion’
The “real collusion,” the Trump campaign’s spokesperson told The Epoch Times, was between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then a 2016 presidential candidate, and “foreign agents with ties to Russia peddling disinformation to defraud voters in 2016.”
In the report released Monday, Durham specifically made mention of “highly significant intelligence” that the FBI “received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.”
Federal officials found that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had likely violated the law when they hired former British spy Christopher Steele, who conducted political opposition research (in the “Steele Dossier”) that alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian entities.
The Epoch Times contacted the Clinton Foundation for comment.
Monday’s report did not recommend any indictments in addition to the three people Durham prosecuted. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who doctored an email to state that a one-time Trump campaign associate was not a CIA asset when the associate actually was, pleaded guilty and received probation. Michael Sussmann was acquitted by a jury, as was Igor Danchenko, a Russian national who was the primary sub-source for the Trump dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.
Around the time of the Durham report’s publication on Monday, House Judiciary Republicans requested testimony from Durham.
“We’ve reached out to the Justice Department to have Special Counsel John Durham testify next week,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote in a statement on Twitter on Monday.
Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called for accountability for what he calls “an extreme abuse of power.”
“The Durham Report details serious and unforgivable breaches by federal law enforcement,” Rubio wrote in a statement following the Durham report’s publication on Monday. “Relying on altered documents and partisan opposition research is an extreme abuse of power. There is no justification for using national security tools designed to keep America safe for partisan political gain.”
“Those responsible need to be held accountable, not just for meddling in the presidential election but also for the damage done to our institutions. America and its institutions are weaker today because of their actions, and it will take years for the FBI and others to rebuild that trust,” the senator continued.
“Rigorous oversight of the FBI’s intelligence activities must be a top priority for the congressional intelligence committees.”
Zachary Stieber, Petr Svab, Ivan Pentchoukov, and Jack Philips contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times