John Durham to testify publicly on Capitol Hill

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Special counsel John Durham is set to testify publicly Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the details of his report that concluded that the FBI should never have launched a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Durham spoke Tuesday behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee, telling members of the panel that he believes some reforms are needed at the FBI and for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, despite the fact that his recent report omitted any new recommendations, committee Chairman Mike Turner told reporters.

Turner, a Republican from Ohio, said Durham shared with committee members “his lessons learned, his big issues that he thinks need to be addressed, in addition to taking questions from us as to what proposals we think might be able to address and to get his background on,” Turner said.

“It was very clear that Durham believes that there was misconduct and if you’ve all been reading his report, he lays out what those instances of misconduct are. He gave us the impression that some of the misconduct is individualized. That there were bad people doing bad things. But then some of it is systemic. And some of it is where we need to change it so that here’s higher reviews, higher requirements for this to ever happen again,” the chairman added.

In May, Durham’s 300-plus page report was released stating that the FBI used “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence,” to launch the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into Trump and Russia but used a different standard when weighing concerns about alleged election interference regarding Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The special counsel, however, did not recommend at the time any new charges against individuals or “wholesale changes” about how the FBI handles politically charged investigations, despite strongly criticizing the agency’s behavior.

Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the committee’s ranking Democratic member, agreed on Tuesday that reforms are needed, and that he believes the committee can work in a bipartisan way to address the issues at the FBI and with FISA. Himes added that Durham’s report “did not find politicization” within the FBI, but “found confirmation bias, which is bad.”

“I think we have found collectively, that culturally and procedurally, the FBI has a lot of work to do,” Himes added. “There are all kinds of things where we need to, I think redouble our efforts. If it’s not quite de-politicizing, but at least making sure that the FBI acts in such a manner that Americans can’t point to their activities and say, ‘That’s clearly political.’ And we have a long way to go on that.”

Turner said the issue isn’t politicization, but that “these were presidential political campaigns. And so that’s what has such a higher degree of standard of concern, because it can affect political and electoral outcomes.”

Turner said he was “glad that we went first,” referencing the House Intelligence Committee, “because I think that having him in this (closed-door) environment allowed him to be very forthcoming and very sharing of his thoughts and ideas. Certainly tomorrow will have a different purpose.”

Himes echoed that sentiment, telling reporters, “I know the world is different when the cameras are running,” he said referencing Wednesday’s public hearing.

“I will tell you that on both sides, there was an attempt to get to the truth rather than what I hear you might see tomorrow, which is an attempt to maybe lie or angle the truth a little bit in service of one’s political agenda,” Himes added. “That didn’t happen in our meeting.”


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