John Durham passed through Congress and left many headlines about the investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. For starters, he described his findings as “mind-boggling” and even acknowledged that FBI agents apologized to him for how the investigation was conducted.
The 73-year-old lawyer testified before two panels of the House of Representatives, the Intelligence Committee (chaired by Mike Turner (R-OH) ) and the Judiciary Committee (chaired by Jim Jordan (R-OH). According to the report released in May, there was a “serious lack of analytical rigor” on the part of the FBI, adding that both the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed in their “mission of strict fidelity to the law.”
While in front of the legislators, Durham assured that “the problems identified in the report are not susceptible to overnight fixes. … They cannot be addressed solely by enhancing training or additional policy requirements.”
House Judiciary Committee John Durham Testimony
.@RepMikeJohnson: "You said that your findings and conclusions are sobering...Why?"
DURHAM: "I have had any number of FBI agents...who have come to me and apologized for the manner in which that investigation [Crossfire Hurricane]… pic.twitter.com/3kdf4RE8II
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 21, 2023
“Rather, what is required is accountability, both in terms of the standards to which our law enforcement personnel hold themselves and in the consequences they face for violation of laws and policies of relevance. (...) I have had any number of FBI agents...who have come to me and apologized for the manner in which that investigation [Crossfire Hurricane] was undertaken,” he added.
Before these hearings, which lasted 5 hours, Turner had anticipated that he would be asked specifically about possible modifications to how these types of investigations are carried out.
Political reactions to the Durham hearings
Basically, each party grabbed what they liked best. For example, Jim Jordan commented that the report will serve to show what not to do. “There is [a double standard at the Department of Justice]. That has got to change, and I don’t think more training and more rules is going to do it. I think we have to fundamentally change the FISA process, and we have to use the appropriations process to limit how American tax dollars are spent at the DOJ,” he said.
Democrats instead clung to the idea that the FBI had sufficient grounds to launch the investigation.
“There is not a single substantive piece of information in the [Steele dossier] that has ever been corroborated by the FBI or, to my knowledge, by anyone else.” - Special Counsel John Durham pic.twitter.com/k8pkn6Zi9h
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) June 21, 2023
“We have many areas of disagreement across the aisle, but I am relieved that we have no disagreement about one of the fundamental conclusions of your report: that it was incumbent upon the FBI to open some form of investigation when presented with evidence that a presidential candidate and his associates are either coordinating campaign efforts with a hostile nation or being manipulated by such a hostile nation,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).
This was echoed by Ted Lieu (D-CA), who remarked, “In contrast to multiple Trump associates who were convicted, you brought two cases to a jury trial based on this investigation, and you lost both. So I don’t actually know what we’re doing here because the author of the Durham report concedes that the FBI had enough information to investigate.”
Returning to Jordan’s line, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), a former Democrat who became a Republican in 2020, called for a “complete restructuring” of the FBI, which he said had been “politicized” and “weaponized” in recent years.