A long-awaited report has strongly criticised the FBI’s handling of its investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
In a 306-page report, special counsel John Durham said the agency’s inquiry lacked “analytical rigor”.
He concluded the FBI had not possessed evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia before launching an inquiry.
The FBI said it had addressed the issues highlighted in the report.
In the report, Mr Durham – who was appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2019 – accused the FBI of acting on “raw, unanalysed and uncorroborated intelligence”.
Among the investigative mistakes it made were repeated instances of “confirmation bias”, in which it ignored information that undercut the initial premise of the investigation.
The report noted significant differences in the way the FBI had handled the Trump investigation when compared with other potentially sensitive inquiries, such as those involving his 2016 electoral rival Hillary Clinton.
Mr Durham noted that Mrs Clinton and others had received “defensive briefings” from the FBI aimed at “those who may be the targets of nefarious activities by foreign powers”. Mr Trump had not.
“The Department [of Justice] and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law,” the report concluded.
In a statement, the FBI said it had “already implemented dozens of corrective actions”.
“Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented,” the statement added.