When special counsel John Durham released his long-awaited report detailing the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, many on the left sought to downplay his findings.
A few outliers, including CNN’s Jake Tapper, took a more unbiased approach and were pilloried by anti-Trump pundits.
CNN's new scandal:@jaketapper says the Durham Report is "devastating to the FBI"
It isn't. Not even close. No charges, just partisan "conclusions." And Tapper of the new non-journalistic Chris Licht CNN is propagandizing
Jake Tapper needs to resign pic.twitter.com/EcJo6qwfA3
— Keith Olbermann↙️ (@KeithOlbermann) May 15, 2023
For his part, NBC News personality Chuck Todd offered a tepid critique of the FBI buried beneath an attack on conservative news outlets.
“If you only consume media on the right you might be excused to think that the 306-page Durham report was a bombshell and damning and that the investigation was an abomination and a soft coup, but special counsel John Durham’s actual sharpest conclusion after a four-year investigation [was] that the FBI suffered from confirmation bias and, quote, discounted or willfully ignored material information that countered the narrative of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia,” he said.
Although Todd pointed out that Durham “recommended no wholesale changes to FBI rules for wiretaps” and “did not send a single person to jail” for involvement in the probe, he nevertheless acknowledged that the report exposed fundamental issues within the bureau. In response, he called for a “real Church committee,” referencing the 1970s congressional probe into the intelligence community of the time.
“This is not an FBI that should feel good about what Durham discovered,” Todd added. “Because at a minimum, this issue of confirmation bias goes to the heart of how [former FBI Director] James Comey seemed to worry so much about what the perception of the FBI was that he — whether it was overdid or underdid Hillary stuff, and then overdid or underdid Trump stuff.”
He concluded that “trust in the FBI is eroding left and right” and evokes comparisons to a previous generation.
“This is a moment like when the J. Edgar Hoover FBI clearly was no longer helping the American people,” he said. “There was a moment. This feels like we might be in one of those moments.”
The FBI responded to the report by claiming that it had already addressed the issues raised therein.
“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,” the agency claimed. “Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented.”