GOP chair ‘speechless’ after senior FBI official says she hasn’t read Durham report

Republican lawmakers denounced a senior FBI official during a hearing Tuesday after she said she hadn’t read special counsel John Durham’s report on the agency’s investigation into former President Trump’s alleged Russia ties.

“I’m honestly speechless at this point in time,” Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, told Jill Murphy, assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI. 

“I just haven’t had time,” Murphy explained when pressed on why she hadn’t read Durham’s report. 

“This is a sincere question, does election collusion worry you?” Pfluger asked Murphy, who said it did. 

“I would highly recommend reading that because we spent four years discussing that — there was uncorroborated evidence. The Durham report specifically outlines the outcome of that. It’s very disappointing to hear this.”

In the 305-page report published May 15, Durham offered a scathing assessment of the FBI’s process in how it launched and carried out the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Murphy later told Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) that she hadn’t even been briefed on the Durham report. 

“​​Why is that not a matter of such import that you would want urgently to understand what the special counsel concluded about the work of the counterintelligence division? In such a grave case?” Bishop asked.

“Sir, if you’d like a brief on the Durham report from the counterintelligence division, I’m happy to take that back,” Murphy said. 

“Wow, that sounds almost contemptuous,” Bishop said. 

He later added, “I’m just without words, that the FBI is unconcerned … Do you intend to read it?”

“I do intend to read it,” Murphy said.

Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), who spoke between Pfluger and Bishop, pointed to flaws in the Durham report and said that Republicans were trying to undermine the FBI’s credibility in order to protect Trump. 

“And why are they trying to diminish and undermine the FBI at Donald Trump’s direction and behest? Because the FBI is investigating Donald Trump,” Goldman said.

“And the problem they have is that the FBI is doing its job in investigating their dear leader Donald Trump. And if you can undermine the investigator, if you can undermine independent journalists doing investigative reporting, then you can undermine our entire system of democracy.”

Earlier in the hearing, which was billed as focusing on threats from the Chinese Communist Party, Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) pressed Murphy on what she thought about FBI agents who claim they were retaliated against for blowing the whistle on bias at the agency. 

Murphy said she was happy to live in a country with whistleblower protections laws and proud to work for the FBI. 

“I sure hope there’s part of you that is embarrassed and disgusted with what the FBI has been up to,” Crane said, later asking Murphy if she was “torn” between her loyalty to the agency and oath to protect the American people. 

“Not at the least,” she said.

Tags August Pfluger Dan Bishop Daniel Goldman Durham report Eli Crane FBI

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