By Savannah Hulsey Pointer and Ivan Pentchoukov
Two Republican presidential candidates have responded to news that special counsel John Durham’s report further discredits the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election, saying they’re glad the facts have come out and that there’s a case to argue for shutting down the FBI.
According to Durham, who has spent nearly three years probing the origins of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, the bureau hurried to initiate the initial investigation based on unvetted intelligence from the Australian government and the FBI did not interview the individuals connected to the intelligence used to launch a comprehensive investigation.
Ramaswamy responded to the report telling The Epoch Times, “Enough is enough. Root out the corruption & shut down the FBI.”
“This is achievable,” the Republican presidential candidate went on. “At the local level, we have police & prosecutors. At the federal level, we have U.S. marshals & the DOJ. An intermediary bureaucracy is rife with risk for politicized corruption & it’s been happening since J. Edgar Hoover in the 60s.”
Fellow businessman and Republican candidate Perry Johnson told The Epoch Times that even though this exonerated his political opponent, he’s glad the truth has come out on this issue.
“Although I am running for President as a Republican alternative to Donald Trump, I am thrilled that our former president has been rightfully exonerated by report findings,” Johnson said. “We must unite against corruption and celebrate when truth prevails.”
The Michigander also noted that, “Democrats have never shied away from weaponizing the law for their own benefit. The Trump-Russia probe was nothing more than partisan political targeting and abuse of our legal system by the FBI.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has made preparations for a presidential run in 2024 but has yet to formally announce his candidacy, expressed a similar sentiment on Twitter.
He wrote, “The Durham Report confirmed what we already knew: weaponized federal agencies manufactured a false conspiracy theory about Trump-Russia collusion. It reminds us of the need to clean house at these agencies, as they’ve never been held accountable for this egregious abuse of power.”
The much-anticipated report (pdf), a copy of which The Epoch Times obtained ahead of its public release, also delves into other controversial aspects of “Crossfire Hurricane”—the FBI codename for its investigation of the Trump campaign.
“[T]he objective facts show that the FBI’s handling of important aspects of the Crossfire Hurricane matter were seriously deficient,” the report states.
The special counsel further impugned the bureau’s error-ridden applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page. FBI agents applied to renew the secret-court warrants on Page despite admitting, both at the time and subsequently, that they had no probable cause to do so.
Durham concludes that the FBI failed to uphold its “important mission of strict fidelity to the law.”
The bureau also failed to examine its own databases, check with other intelligence agencies, interview essential witnesses, and did not use “any of the standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI in evaluation raw intelligence,” the report states.
Had the FBI followed its own rules, the bureau’s agents would have discovered that neither the bureau or the CIA had any evidence to show that candidate Donald Trump or anyone in his campaign had been in contact with any Russian intelligence officials at any time during the campaign, according to the report.
The FBI released a public statement after the report was released, saying, “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.”
The FBI responded to The Epoch Times’s request for comment on the subject by including a copy of the letter (pdf) they sent to Durham in response to the report, which included their agreement that it “is important to examine past conduct to identify shortcomings.” The letter further outlined steps that the agency has taken to secure the integrity of its national security investigations and other processes.
“In addition to the external oversight conducted by the Department of Justice, FBI considerably strengthened and expanded its internal oversight and auditing program … We also share your concern with any proposals that would ‘curtail the scope or reach of FISA or theFBI’s investigative activities … in a time of aggressive and hostile terorist groups and foreign powers.’”
Janice Hisle contributed to this report.