An investigation by a Trump administration prosecutor charged with undermining and discrediting the FBI’s probe into alleged ties between former president Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government has ended after four years and just a single criminal conviction.
The findings from the probe, led by Special Counsel John Durham, are laid out in a nearly 300-page report in which the once-respected career prosecutor — who was hand-picked to delegitimise the FBI’s efforts to determine whether Mr Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia’s efforts to boost his candidacy — railed against the FBI for opening a probe into Mr Trump’s campaign based on “raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence” and accusing investigators of suffering from “confirmation bias”.
Over the four years Mr Durham worked to discredit the department’s investigation, he only brought a handful of cases against criminal defendants, including an FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to doctoring an email used to secure a surveillance warrant against an ex-Trump campaign adviser, and two other figures associated with the Trump-Russia probe who were acquitted at trial.
Mr Durham’s criticism of the FBI contradicts a prior investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe by Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s inspector general.
In that report, Mr Horowitz wrote that the FBI had sufficient cause to open an investigation into alleged ties between Mr Trump’s campaign and the Russian government based on a tip the bureau had received from an Australian diplomat, who had revealed that a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, had bragged that the Russian had acquired and were prepared to release damaging information about the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s Democratic opponent.