Trump Probe Into Russia Investigation Yields Little

'NYT' finds investigation relied on dubious intelligence, as critics claimed of the Russia probe
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2023 11:50 AM CST
Trump Probe Into Russia Investigation Yields Little
Special counsel John Durham, the prosecutor appointed to investigate potential government wrongdoing in the early days of the Trump-Russia probe, leaves federal court in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Then-attorney general Bill Barr ordered an investigation into the handling of the Trump-Russia investigation in 2019, saying he wanted to know if "officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale" in pursuing what critics called a "witch hunt." A year later, he stated "it will not be, a tit-for-tat exercise. We are not going to lower the standards just to achieve a result." That's now being called into question with a New York Times investigation, which finds special counsel John Durham's probe "was marked by some of the very same flaws … that Trump allies claim characterized the Russia investigation"—mainly that it had no real basis, stretched on far too long, and found no proof of the alleged crime.

Not only was there "strained justification for opening" the probe—which is now nearing an end after nearly four years, at least $6.5 million spent, and a single conviction for making a false statement, per CNN—but it involved potential abuses of investigative powers, per the Times. Durham reportedly relied on dubious Russian intelligence memos to gain access to the emails of Leonard Benardo, an aide of George Soros, a prominent target of the right. Those emails—which intelligence suggested contained information about an effort to obstruct investigations related to Hillary Clinton—"yielded no evidence that Mr. Durham has cited in any case he pursued," per the Times, leading Vox to remark on the "stunning hypocrisy."

The Times also reports the investigation, marked by resignations over ethical concerns related to flimsy indictments, was expanded to include a criminal investigation following "a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes," though that matter was later dropped. (More Russia investigation stories.)

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