Law&Crime founder and ABC News chief legal anchor Dan Abrams expressed dismay at a statement issued by U.S. Attorney John Durham in response to the release of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on “Crossfire Hurricane.” The report debunked claims about political bias and alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse committed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) while also exposing numerous process shortcomings and failures.
Ultimately, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the investigation had a proper and legal factual basis.
“I was probably more troubled than anything else by the statement of John Durham,” Abrams said Tuesday on his SiriusXM show, The Dan Abrams Show. “Durham has been tasked to investigate any possible crimes committed in connection with the 2016 [Trump campaign investigation].”
“And it looks like there’s at least a lawyer who altered a document that was part of the FISA application […] and he may get prosecuted and I wouldn’t be surprised by this,” he added.
Abrams then explained why the Durham statement was alarming:
But Durham is currently involved in an investigation. Durham responded to the Inspector General.
“I keep hearing about Durham–I didn’t know much about him before–I keep hearing he’s a straight shooter; he’s a guy you can rely on, but that’s what I said about Barr coming into this,” Abrams continued.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Durham does have a bit of a reputation–prior to being Attorney General William Barr‘s hand-picked investigator of the investigators, Durham was largely known for covering up CIA torture after a lengthy investigation into Bush-era abuses during the so-called “War on Terror.”
Abrams then read out the entirety of Durham’s statement over the air. The initial lines about respecting Inspector General Horowitz didn’t register as offensive.
“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham wrote. “However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.”
“Okay, fair enough,” Abrams allowed.
The SiriusXM Radio host then singled out the following two lines for criticism: “Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
Abrams asked the pertinent question:
Why would John Durham be weighing in? Why? The only possible reason is political.
“From an investigative perspective, John Durham should continue his investigation,” Abrams continued. “He should do what every other federal prosecutor does. Which is: keep your head down and when you’re ready to indict, you make an announcement.”
Abrams then compared Durham’s highly-criticized statement to the tack taken by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Why didn’t Robert Mueller specifically say that [President] Donald Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice?” he asked. “Because he felt it would be inappropriate since there were going to be no charges. John Durham is doing just the opposite and I am stunned–stunned–that Durham would make this kind of comment.”
“That is not a statement whatsoever about what Durham will find or won’t find or how he’s going to deal with it. But what the heck is a U.S. Attorney doing commenting on what he believes or doesn’t believe should or shouldn’t be in an inspector general report. It should be the other way around. Inspectors general should be commenting on how FBI agents, U.S. Attorneys and others they do their jobs. It is just astonishing,” Abrams concluded.
[Image via Fox News screengrab/DOJ]