Special counsel John Durham gave back better than he got from a number of House Democrats during a fiery hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Durham appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to provide testimony regarding a lengthy report he released earlier this spring detailing his findings into the origins of the so-called “Trump-Russia collusion” claim, formally called “Crossfire Hurricane” by the FBI.
At one point, under questioning from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the exchange with Durham got tense:
SCHIFF: “You also sought to get the Inspector General to change his conclusion…”
DURHAM: “If you wanna go there, we asked the Inspector General to take a look at the intelligence…”
SCHIFF: “You thought it was appropriate for you to intervene…?!”
DURHAM: “[Your] premise isn’t right.”
There was another fiery exchange between Durham and another Democratic member of the panel, Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who attempted to smear the special counsel’s reputation after he concluded that the evidence he found exonerated then-President Donald Trump of any ‘collusion’ allegations while citing the FBI for launching an investigation that wasn’t based on any credible evidence.
“I’ve tried to follow your report. Mr. Donald Trump, Jr. would’ve called it a nothing burger. You got no convictions, you got nothing! It was all set up to hurt the Mueller report – which was correct and was redacted – to hurt the Bidens and to help Trump,” Cohen said.
“And you were a part of it. You have a good reputation. You had a good reputation, that’s why the two Democrats supported you. But the longer you hold onto Mr. Barr and this report that Mr. Barr gave you as special counsel, your reputation will be damaged, as everybody’s reputation who gets involved with Donald Trump is damaged,” he lectured.
“He’s damaged goods, there’s no good dealing with him cause you will end up on the bottom of a pyre,” Cohen added.
Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) allowed Durham to respond, who said: “Yeah, my concern about my reputation is with the people who I respect, my family, and my Lord, and I’m perfectly comfortable with my reputation with them, sir!”
“Well said, God bless you,” Jordan responded.
Throughout Trump’s term and beyond, Schiff regularly claimed to have evidence that the former president was working behind the scenes with Russia to undermine the 2016 election. But several investigations into the allegations turned up no such evidence. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had Schiff removed from the Intelligence Committee over the false claims.
Durham found the FBI used “uncorroborated intelligence” when it launched its investigation into Trump before the 2016 presidential election and that agents failed repeatedly to maintain “strict fidelity to the law” throughout the probe.
The Daily Caller noted crucial findings in the report about Hillary Clinton:
The report noted that the FBI received intelligence that Hillary Clinton’s campaign approved “a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services,” specifically one that involved “tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee” to distract the public from her email scandals. It notes that President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey were personally briefed on Clinton’s scheme, known as the “Clinton Plan” in the report, by CIA Director John Brennan, who recorded mentioning the plan in his handwritten notes.
The “Clinton Plan” was obtained by the FBI while it was relying on the “Steele Dossier,” a discredited report of lurid allegations of Trump’s personal sexual activity, which the FBI knew was being funded and promoted by the Clinton campaign, according to the report. Durham quotes information from a meeting between the Dossier’s author, former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, and FBI agents, as well as texts between FBI officials, to demonstrate that the agents knew the evidence was connected to Clinton.