Former President Donald Trump declared Monday that former FBI Director James Comey and Democrats have to be held to account for spending so much time looking into alleged collusion between him and the Kremlin, particularly now that Special Counsel John Durham has released a report saying the probe shouldn’t have taken place in the first place.
“I, and much more importantly, the American public have been victims of this long-running and treasonous charade started by the Democrats — started by Comey,” Trump said, according to a Fox News Digital report.
“There must be a heavy price to pay for putting our country through this.”
Durham’s report – more than 300 pages in all – found that the Department of Justice and the FBI had “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law” with the Russia collusion probe.
In comments to Fox News Digital, Trump described investigative activities surrounding the original “Russiagate” probe as “a total disgrace.” He also said “public anger over this report is at a level that I have not seen before.”
“This report took a long time because John Durham is a very thorough investigator,” Trump said. “But the result is unequivocal and an absolute disaster in terms of justice.”
The report damned the collusion probe as rooted in unreliable and unvetted allegations by Trump enemies and critics, though Durham’s probe of the probe ultimately resulted in few prosecutions.
Trump decried the national security implications of the collusion probe, which he has long dismissed as a politically motivated witch hunt. “It turned out to be a giant and very dangerous hoax,” he said.
Durham’s report was released publicly Monday afternoon after his four-year deep dive into the origins of the FBI’s original investigation, which had been breathlessly dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.”
That original probe focused on whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, in which Trump ultimately bested Hillary Clinton.
Durham said in his report that “senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically-affiliated persons and entities.”
“This information in part triggered and sustained Crossfire Hurricane and contributed to the subsequent need for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” the report states. “In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded (directly or indirectly) by Trump’s political opponents.”
“The Department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them, even when at about the same time the Director the FBI and others learned of significant and potentially contrary intelligence,” the report said, referring to such figures as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the FBI had this to say about the matter:
“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time. Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented. This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect.”
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee also issued a statement, dubbing the report little more than a weak and unconvincing political rehash of old claims.