The leading Republican tasked with his party’s investigation into the preparedness and response of the U.S. Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies to the Capitol riot on January 6 is being blocked by President Joseph Biden’s FBI from gathering information, a new document reveals.
The FBI told Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks it would not provide Republicans the same information provided to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked committee consisting only of Democrat-appointed members.
“We respectfully refer you to the Select Committee regarding issues of access to records and information,” the agency wrote in response to a Republican request for information, referring to the official House panel established by the speaker.
Pelosi took what she admitted was an “unprecedented” step of refusing the appointments made by Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, barring Navy officer and Afghanistan veteran Banks and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, from participation. In a fiery denunciation of Pelosi’s politicization of the committee, McCarthy, R-Calif., publicly announced Banks would lead Republicans’ investigation despite Pelosi blowing up the committee.
On September 3, Banks asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to give Republican lawmakers the same briefing offered to the Democrats on the progress of the agency’s own investigation. Partial findings of the FBI’s independent investigation were leaked to Reuters in August, which found “scant evidence” the Capitol riot was “an organized plot to overturn the president election result.” Wray has not responded to the request.
“Pursuant to the rules of the House of Representatives, the minority party in Congress retains the rights to the same information that is provided to the majority party,” Banks wrote in another letter to Wray on Sept. 16, which was also sent to several other federal agencies such as the Interior Department. “I ask that you provide me any information that is submitted to the Select Committee.” His requests have been met with radio silence across the Biden administration.
Prominent anti-Trump activists Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill, are both Democrat-appointed members of Pelosi’s Select Committee. Because House rules dictate that ranking members must be appointed by the minority party, Democrat-appointed Cheney serves only as vice-chair. In the case of the House Committee on Jan. 6., Pelosi blocked minority party participation for the first time in House history to pursue a preferred political narrative.
Democrats’ committee was ostensibly created “to investigate and report upon” the objective “facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement” in the course of the Capitol riot as outlined by the committee’s establishing resolution. Yet Pelosi’s commission has instead targeted private citizens who exercised their constitutional right of free assembly by applying for and receiving a permit to hold a peaceful protest on the day of the riot. The constitutionality of the committee’s actions is in question, since Congress is not one of the branches of government tasked with investigating alleged crimes of private citizens.
The committee asked dozens of telecom, email, and social media companies to preserve information on the activities of more than 100 citizens going back to April 2020. It has kept secret which individuals it is targeting with these subpoenas but leaked to CNN that it included “many members of Congress.” What’s more, it asked these companies to not notify the people they are targeting and to contact the committee if they’re unable or unwilling to avoid alerting the targets.
“In other words, even the committee knows that its power to seek this information about private citizens lacks any convincing legal justification and, for that reason, wants to ensure that nobody has the ability to seek a judicial ruling on the legality of their actions,” wrote civil libertarian and journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Committee chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., took the shocking step of demanding that anybody suspected of participating in any events on January 6 be placed on the no-fly list prior to a trial, much less conviction.
In the three rounds of subpoenas issued by the speaker’s Select Committee to date, a majority of those sought for testimony were merely involved with a same-day White House rally and bore no relationship with the separate riot at the Capitol.
The erased distinction between the peaceful protest with the president and the violence at the Capitol has become a hallmark of Pelosi’s efforts to embed the events of Jan. 6 into the American psyche and indict political dissidents. The speaker’s mission, which featured a military perimeter to surround the Capitol complex for months, came after she derided the presence of law enforcement securing the nation’s capital following the worst outbreak of civil unrest in decades from left-wing anarchists.
Despite significant degrees of separation, including the fact the Capitol assault began 20 minutes before Trump was done speaking, the president’s explicit calls to remain peaceful, and the failed impeachment with fabricated evidence, Democrats continue to treat the riot at the Capitol and the rally at the White House as the same, with help from a complicit media.
Banks, on the other hand, has opted to study the significant failures of intelligence and law enforcement, failures Pelosi has the incentive to cover up considering her team is responsible for Capitol security.
McCarthy said that because Pelosi’s investigation seems “predetermined to support only a partisan political narrative,” he still needs Banks’ investigation to determine “why our Capitol was vulnerable earlier this year.”
“After Speaker Pelosi took the unprecedented and corrosive step in kicking members of the minority party off the committee, Jim and the other House Republican appointees are still tasked with leading House Republicans’ ongoing investigation because we want the facts that will lead us to finding out why the Capitol was left so unprepared and how we can make sure this never happens again. I’m confident his work will help the American people get those answers,” McCarthy told The Federalist.
Republicans have raised questions that strike at the heart of the security breach pursuant to the mission statement establishing the Democrats’ Select Committee, only to be ignored by Pelosi’s panel absent of GOP-appointed participation.
Republicans want to know why the Capitol had faulty riot shields during the attack, why the national guard was called late, why the national guard took three hours to arrive once they were called, and why the FBI did not warn of a potential threat until the night before on Jan. 5.
Pelosi’s Committee, however, has refused to hear testimony from a whistleblower within the Capitol Police as her weaponized probe focuses on private citizen exercise of First Amendment freedoms.