(NewsNation) — The report from special counsel John Durham this week was critical of the FBI’s opening of the 2016 Russia investigation. Durham laid out many mistakes he believed had occurred. But it is now astonishing how some in the media took a critique and twisted it into something that it absolutely was not.
Now, I believe many on the left are wrong to call it a nothing burger. But people can have different opinions on how significant it should be or it was. They can’t have their own set of facts.
The most stark example came during Tuesday’s White House press briefing with correspondent Philip Wegmann from RealClearPolitics.
Wegmann said: “He talks often about how he wants the DOJ and FBI to remain independent and above the fray. That report seems to reflect the opposite. Does he agree with special counsel Durham that there needs to be wholesale changes at the FBI?”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre replied: “Again, that is with the Department of Justice. That’s not something that I’m going to speak from the podium.”
Putting aside how Jean-Pierre should answer these questions or not, the premise of the reporter’s question was just wrong. He claimed that Durham recommended wholesale changes at the FBI. Durham literally said the opposite.
“This report does not recommend any wholesale changes in the guidelines and policies that the Department and FBI now have in place to ensure proper conduct and accountability in how counterintelligence activities are carried out. The answer is not the creation of new rules, but a renewed fidelity to the old,” the Durham report said.
I mean, it was just a brutal misrepresentation. But Wegmann wasn’t alone. Over on Fox, Maria Bartiromo wildly twisted another Durham finding.
Bartiromo said: “The Durham report has finally been released late yesterday, and it confirmed everything that we’ve reported on this program to a T from back in 2018 — That the Trump Russia collusion story was made up by Trump’s opponents, including the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrats. The FBI pursued their investigation, despite having no evidence.”
Once again, that is not what Durham said. He did not say there wasn’t any evidence or the idea of Trump-Russia collusion was a figment of the Clinton campaign’s imagination.
Here’s what Durham did say. He did say the investigation revealed that senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor toward the information they received, especially information received from politically affiliated persons and entities. In particular, there was significant reliance on investigative leads provided or funded directly or indirectly by Trump’s political opponents. The department did not adequately examine or question these materials and the motivations of those providing them before opening a full-scale investigation.
In other words, according to Durham, the FBI didn’t ask enough questions about where the evidence was coming from. But there was evidence and he never said it was made up.
Then there’s this from Sean Davis of The Federalist:
“The most important thing you can gather from this report is that the FBI is a domestic terror organization. They use their power, they use their influence to try and lie, try to gaslight the American people, to try and rig an election,” Davis said.
A domestic terror organization? Rig an election? Well, if that were true, that’s what Durham’s report would have concluded.
Don’t you think there would have been more criminal indictments and if the FBI, by the way, had been trying to rig the 2016 election, why didn’t they leak the fact there was a Russia investigation before the election? Why did James Comey announce he was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton 11 days before the election?
But most importantly, if Durham believed that is what you should gather from the report, don’t you think he would do a little more to bust up the “terror organization?”
Over on Newsmax, Eric Bolling just engaged in wishful thinking.
“The Durham report shows collusion between the Clinton campaign, the FBI and the Obama administration. The Durham report implicates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the intelligence community in one of the biggest scandals in American history,” Bolling said.
There is nothing, I mean, literally nothing, in the report which shows any of that.
Look, I take Durham seriously. His report and critique should be taken seriously, as well. That means actually reporting on what it says but also what it doesn’t say.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.