By Zachary Stieber
Former U.S. Attorney John Durham agreed that there was no intelligence showing collusion between former President Donald Trump or his campaign and Russia, according to the former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe.
“Last summer, we went over the intelligence, and we all unanimously agreed that there was no intelligence from the intelligence community that reflected actual, real Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, but there was intelligence that it was created by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and that there was no proper predicate for Crossfire Hurricane to begin,” Ratcliffe, a Trump appointee, said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Durham resigned last month from his U.S. attorney position but is staying in his role as special counsel as he probes the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into Trump and Russia. That investigation is known in the FBI as Crossfire Hurricane.
Also agreeing with Ratcliffe and Durham was then-Attorney General William Barr, according to Ratcliffe.
Durham is now preparing a report on how the investigation into Trump and Russia started. He has only charged one person, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, in the probe. Clinesmith admitted to altering an email related to Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign associate. He avoided jail time.
Durham is making “significant progress,” Barr said just before he left office around Christmas.
“I do expect that the Durham report will be another scathing recounting of abuses—abuse of power at the FBI. And I say that because I have reviewed the intelligence with John Durham and Bill Barr,” Ratcliffe said on Sunday.
“I really do expect that the Durham report will talk about that abuse of power because I know that intelligence.”
The Department of Justice’s inspector general in 2019 concluded the FBI made at least 17 significant errors or omissions related to the spy warrants obtained against Page. Michael Horowitz, the official, also found the FBI utilized the unsubstantiated dossier compiled by Trump critic Christopher Steele, an ex-British spy.
Ratcliffe said it’s clear the probe was spurred by politics and that the FBI’s senior leadership, in addition to Clinesmith, lied to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which doled out the spy warrants.
“I do think it’s important for people to have faith in the FBI as an institution, for there to be accountability—and, hopefully, the Durham report will bring that,” he said.
President Joe Biden’s choice for attorney general, who has not been confirmed by the Senate as of yet, told senators he could not commit to not interfering with Durham’s probe.
“My view about every investigation is that I have to know the facts before I can make these kinds of decisions or commitments,” he said in a written statement after a confirmation hearing, adding: “As I said at the hearing, however, I understand Mr. Durham has been permitted to remain in his position and to continue his investigation. And I presently have no reason to think that that was not the correct decision.”
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