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FBI boss reveals discipline for officials looking into Trump-Russia collusion has been slowed

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/4/2022 Jerry Dunleavy

FBI Director Christopher Wray said disciplinary action against agents involved in the bureau’s Trump-Russia investigation has been “slowed down” due to ongoing cooperation with special counsel John Durham.

An FBI analyst whose assessment was used to label Hunter Biden evidence as "disinformation" wrongly in 2020, according to whistleblower disclosures, was referred for disciplinary action for his role in Crossfire Hurricane just months before doing so, but Wray confirmed during Senate testimony on Thursday that the process has largely paused.

“There are a number of people who are currently in our — what we call our Office of Professional Responsibility, which is our disciplinary arm,” Wray said when asked by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) if anyone at the FBI had been disciplined or fired due to the Trump-Russia investigation. “You may wonder why that has not yielded its results yet, and that’s because we are working closely with, cooperating closely with, and assisting the Durham investigation.”

Wray added: “So that whole process, which is not unusual, has been sort of slowed down to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the Durham investigation.”

WRAY FINDS WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGATIONS ABOUT FBI'S HUNTER BIDEN INVESTIGATION 'DEEPLY TROUBLING'

Brian Auten, a supervisory intelligence analyst within the bureau, was referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility following Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December 2019 report on the Trump-Russia investigation and its use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act surveillance against Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Shortly after the referral, Auten was involved with the bureau’s inquiry into the son of now-President Joe Biden, with his August 2020 analysis being used in part to justify the decision to "shut down investigative activity."

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. J. Scott Applewhite/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Wray said Thursday that he found the whistleblower claims that the FBI had improperly labeled Hunter Biden evidence as disinformation to be “deeply troubling.”

Horowitz’s report undermined British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier claims, and the watchdog criticized the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA warrants against Page and for the bureau's “central and essential” reliance on the Steele dossier. The Justice Department watchdog said FBI interviews with Steele’s alleged main source, Igor Danchenko, "raised significant questions about the reliability" of the dossier.

Danchenko, a Russian-born lawyer, was charged by Durham with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. Auten was involved in analyzing the dossier, reviewed the Page FISAs in 2016 and 2017, and was among the FBI employees who interviewed Danchenko in January 2017, when the Russian undercut collusion claims. Horowitz indicated Auten did not pass along the fact that Danchenko had undermined the dossier when the FBI analyst circulated an intelligence memo on the dossier source in February 2017.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable, period,” Wray told the House in February 2020 when discussing Horowitz’s findings, adding that “where there are people who are still left, most of whom are effectively at the line level or at least were at the time of the inspector general report, they’ve been referred to our Office of Professional Responsibility.”

Wray noted that “there is an ongoing investigation by Mr. Durham with which we’re actively cooperating and fully cooperating.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked Wray on Thursday if he knew about the timing of a public Durham report, and Wray said that was a question for the special counsel.

“Do you agree that the allegation of secret collusion between President Trump and Russia was a hoax?” Blackburn also asked.

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Wray replied: “I don’t think that’s the terminology I would use, but I think there’s been a lot written on this subject, both in the special counsel’s report, the inspector general’s report … so that’s not a term I would use.”

Danchenko's October trial comes after Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann was found not guilty in May on a false statements charge of concealing his representation of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign from the FBI when he pushed since-debunked Trump-Russia collusion claims about Alfa-Bank to the bureau in 2016. Testimony during the trial revealed Clinton personally signed off on her campaign sharing the Alfa-Bank claims with the media.

 

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Tags: FBI, Justice, Hunter Biden, John Durham, Christopher Wray

Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy

Original Location: FBI boss reveals discipline for officials looking into Trump-Russia collusion has been slowed

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