The FBI reportedly had no evidence to support a Trump-Russia scandal when it began its investigation, according to Special Counsel John Durham, who was tasked by former Attorney General Bill Barr to look into the propriety of the FBI’s investigation of President Trump.
On Monday, Durham released a 320-page report that also revealed “sobering” differences in how the FBI handled the Trump probe compared to other politically sensitive inquiries.
“At the time of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI did not possess any intelligence showing that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian intelligence officers at any point during the campaign,” the report said.
“Upon receipt of unevaluated intelligence information from Australia, the FBI swiftly opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. In particular, at the direction of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Peter Strzok opened Crossfire Hurricane immediately. Strzok, at a minimum, had pronounced hostile feelings toward Trump.” it continued.
“The matter was opened as a full investigation without ever having spoken to the persons who provided the information. Further, the FBI did so without (i) any significant review of its own intelligence databases, (ii) collection and examination of any relevant intelligence from other U.S. intelligence entities, (iii) interviews of witnesses essential to understand the raw information it had received or (iv) using any of the standard analytical tools typicallv employed by the FBI in evaluating raw intelligence,” Concluded the report.
The report is now fully accessible here.
In response to a brief note from an Australian ambassador detailing a meeting with Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos, who hinted that Russia could have material damaging to Hillary Clinton, the FBI reportedly started a comprehensive investigation right away.
Durham was entrusted with looking at the history of the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the United States.
The Durham probe, as it is frequently known, sought to ascertain whether any illegality or misconduct, particularly with regard to the acts of law enforcement and intelligence officers, took place during the preliminary phases of the Russia investigation.
The probe intended to shed light on the investigation’s beginnings, including the use of warrants to monitor Carter Page, a campaign aide to Donald Trump, and the processing of the Steele dossier.