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Durham: Trump’s special counsel opposes FBI probe into Russia

Durham: Trump’s special counsel opposes FBI probe into Russia

Four years ago, then-US President Donald Trump appointed a special investigator to re-examine the FBI report. A 2016 report on the US Federal Police investigation into Russia surrounding Trump’s campaign team. John Durham, the special counsel, was asked to verify that the FBI’s investigation was conducted properly at the time. After years of work, Durham submitted its final report on Monday — and criticized the federal police’s work.

The more than 300-page report criticized the “speed and manner” in which the FBI launched the investigation as representing a “significant departure from the manner” in which similar cases have been handled in the past. Durham also points out that investigators are relying on “unconfirmed intelligence information.”

He cites the investigations into Democrat Hillary Clinton as examples of how the case was handled differently. Durham said individual FBI officials had “strong antipathy toward Trump.”

The background to the FBI probe is Moscow’s suspected influence on the 2016 presidential campaign, which followed years of investigations into whether Trump’s campaign made secret deals with Russian representatives and whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump has always described the investigations as a “witch hunt.” His election campaign was the target of illegal surveillance at the time.

However, a December 2019 report by the US Department of Justice’s internal comptroller now came to a different conclusion from Durham’s. No evidence was found that the July 2016 investigation was politically biased. However, the report also acknowledged serious mistakes by the FBI: for example, requests for surveillance as part of the investigation showed significant flaws.