OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:43 PM – Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Special Counsel John Durham said on Wednesday that the CIA received evidence in 2016 indicating that Hillary Clinton had authorized a scheme to link then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia, which the FBI ignored.
Durham spoke publicly before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, only weeks after issuing a report concluding that the Justice Department and FBI should have never initiated the Trump-Russia probe.
He stated that the FBI failed to “sufficiently scrutinize information it received” and did not “apply the same standards to allegations it received about the Clinton and Trump campaigns.”
“The FBI was too willing to accept and use politically funded and uncorroborated opposition research, such as the Steele dossier,” Durham said. “The FBI relied on the dossier and FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) applications, knowing there was likely material originating from a political campaign or political opponent.”
The agency “did so even after the president of the United States, the FBI and CIA directors and others received briefings about intelligence suggesting that there was a Clinton campaign plan underway to stir up a scandal tying Trump to Russia,” Durham said.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) used the hearing to concentrate on his series of questions regarding the “Clinton Plan Intelligence.”
“Can you tell the committee what happened when you took that referral memo and shared it with one of those agents, specifically Supervisory Special Agent Number 1?” Jordan asked.
“We interviewed the first supervisor of the Crossfire investigation, the operational person,” Durham answered. “We showed him the intelligence information and he indicated he had never seen it before.”
Durham continued, saying that the agent, Joe Pientka “immediately became emotional, got up and left the room with his lawyer, spent some time in the hallway, and came back.”
Jordan then chimed in.
“He was ticked off, wasn’t he? He was ticked off because this is something he should have had as an agent on the case — important information that the director of the FBI kept from the people doing the investigation,” Jordan asserted.
“The information was kept from him,” Durham replied.
Durham claimed that in July 2016, then-CIA Director John Brennan “realized the significance” of the material and “expeditiously” informed then-President Barack Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and other key national security officials.
The CIA appropriately conveyed that material to then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok via a Counterintelligence Operational Lead (CIOL). The email subject line read: “Crossfire Hurricane.”
However, neither the briefing nor Brennan’s subsequent referral of the information to the FBI produced any results.
Durham maintained that the FBI “failed to act on what should have been — when combined with other incontrovertible facts — a clear warning sign that the FBI might then be the target of an effort to manipulate or influence the law enforcement process for political purposes during the 2016 presidential election.”
“Whether or not the Clinton plan intelligence was based on reliable or unreliable information, or was ultimately true or false it, it should have prompted FBI personnel to immediately undertake an analysis of the information and to act with far greater care and caution when receiving, analyzing, and relying upon materials of partisan origins, such as the Steele Reports, and the Alfa Bank allegations,” according to Durham’s report.
“We found troubling violations of law and policy in the conduct of highly consequential investigations directed at members of a presidential campaign and ultimately, a presidential administration,” Durham concluded. “To me, it matters not whether it was a Republican campaign or a Democrat campaign.”
Democrats used the session to attack Durham, with some even calling him a “political hack” and warning that his reputation has now been “damaged” as a result of his involvement with Donald Trump.
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