With Trump indicted, House GOP calls on Trump-era special counsel who studied Russia probe 2023

House Republicans are exploiting a special counsel’s report to argue that federal law enforcement is biased against Donald Trump, who faces a 37-count charge and a hefty jail term.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear from FBI investigator John Durham on Wednesday. One day after Durham spoke with House Intelligence Committee members in private.

Durham’s four-year inquiry yielded three charges and two acquittals, but his report accused FBI agents of hiding critical material from courts and ignoring reasons not to pursue Trump’s campaign.

House Republicans say they’re still angry about the 2016 campaign probe, known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” and intend to push new FBI curbs in exchange for renewing Section 702, which U.S. intelligence considers critical and expires at the end of this year. Many Democrats also want additional limitations on how the FBI can examine overseas surveillance data for U.S. persons and corporations.

The Justice Department’s Tuesday statement that President Joe Biden’s son Hunter will likely avoid jail time in a plea agreement on tax and weapons charges fuelled GOP fury. Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who leads the Judiciary Committee, tweeted in all caps that it was a “double standard of justice.”

Former Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham to evaluate the origins of the Russia-Trump 2016 campaign inquiry.

Durham accused the FBI of confirmation bias, not political bias or partisanship.

He found that the FBI proceeded too soon and without sufficient reason to initiate a thorough investigation and that the bureau displayed greater care on claims that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mishandled secret material on her private email server.

He also stated the FBI used the Steele dossier before the key U.S. surveillance court despite failing to confirm “a single substantive allegation” in it. Last year, the Clinton team agreed to pay a $113,000 fine to the Democratic National Committee for misreporting research expenses.

The Durham report produced only one conviction—a guilty plea from a little-known FBI employee—and the only two other cases were acquitted at trial.

The agency also faces bipartisan criticism for how it handles Section 702 electronic intelligence. Section 702 of the overseas Intelligence Surveillance Act lets spy agencies gather overseas phone conversations and emails for investigations.

The FBI conducted thousands of unjustified searches of Americans, including queries related to the Jan. 6 rebellion and the 2020 demonstrations after George Floyd’s death, according to a recently released surveillance court judgment.

Last Monday, Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the committee’s chairman, said the FBI “went off the rails” and damaged the legal system.

Turner was asked last week if the federal charge scared him.

“Rules and laws need to be changed so these mechanisms cannot be used again to really harm the American public,” he added.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, the panel’s senior Democrat, said Durham did not suggest any legal changes but extensively discussed the report’s concerns and politically sensitive probes.

Our hearing was non-political. Himes stated nobody was trying to score. “People asked political questions because they were doing due diligence around things that concern them.”

FBI Director Chris Wray admitted mistakes in the Trump-Russia inquiry. “Already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time,” the agency stated Tuesday.

“The Durham report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect,” the statement stated.

As Trump, the 2024 GOP primary favorite, faces unprecedented legal trouble, the House GOP is highlighting the Durham report.

Trump gets accused in New York for allegedly knowing about hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 campaign and mishandling secret materials.

Most Republicans have called the New York indictment political, but they are divided on the Justice Department case filed by special counsel Jack Smith.

“The behavior described within the complaint, and the behavior that we’re aware of that President Biden as a senator or vice president did, are wrong and place the nation at risk,” he said.

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