Donald Trump with Vladimir Putin
Donald Trump with Vladimir PutinReuters

The FBI investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and former President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign was based on flimsy evidence and seriously flawed, an independent US prosecutor said in a report published Monday and quoted by AFP.

Special Counsel John Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-president Trump's attorney general Bill Barr to address allegations that the Russia investigation was a political "witch hunt."

Durham's more than 300-page report follows a four-year investigation that continued under Barr's successor, Attorney General Merrick Garland, an appointee of President Joe Biden.

The long-awaited report was highly critical of the origins of "Crossfire Hurricane," the FBI's probe into allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

"Neither US law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," the report said.

Durham also said the FBI and Justice Department had displayed a double standard in the manner in which they investigated Trump and his 2016 rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton.

"The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign," the report said.

Durham said that "senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information received from politically-affiliated persons and entities."

Trump welcomed the Durham report.

"WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe!" Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

"In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don't want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!" he added, apparently referring to the multiple ongoing criminal investigations targeting him.

In a statement on the Durham report, the FBI said the current leadership of the bureau has implemented dozens of corrective actions.

"Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented," the FBI said.