Republicans aren’t “draining the swamp” unless they drain the FBI.
Special Counsel John Durham published a long-anticipated report last week chronicling severe abuses of power by deep-state FBI officials who ran a years-long campaign to frame former President Donald Trump as a Russian asset.
The 306-page report outlined how the FBI relied on baseless fabrications commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign to construct the entire narrative for its investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” in which the Obama-era Justice Department conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens in an attempt to undermine the 2016 election. According to Durham, “neither U.S. 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.”
In other words, the incessant accusations of Trump-Russia collusion that Americans were bombarded with for all four years of the Trump administration were entirely made up.
It’s far from the first time the politicized FBI has engaged in blatant misconduct at the behest of Democrat operatives. Just last summer, more than two dozen plainclothes agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence at Attorney General Merrick Garland’s personal direction, five years after Trump thwarted Garland’s Supreme Court nomination. In addition to the bureau’s targeting of the Republican presidential frontrunner, FBI officials deployed counterterrorism resources against concerned parents who showed up at school board meetings, and began investigating Catholic parishes for “white supremacy.”
The FBI has now become an emblem of the kind of swamp-style politics that play out in the nation’s capital, insulated from constituents around the country.
Rather than reprimand the Justice Department for its weaponization of law enforcement resources against political opponents, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to beef up the department’s funding. The agency remains on track to build a new multibillion-dollar FBI complex to dedicate even more resources to harassing American citizens.
After hearing from witnesses and whistleblowers who offered more evidence of FBI malfeasance, however, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, says it’s time to clean house.
“We got to limit how they spend the money,” Jordan said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Features.” “We have to exercise our authority, the power of the purse, to limit what the federal government, what the FBI and Justice Department, are doing to the American people.”
“They want millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars in their construction budget for a new facility. No way,” Jordan insisted, suggesting Congress lock up funding through the appropriations process.
“Money always gets people’s attention,” Jordan said. “So what we’re going to have to do is say, ‘Hey, FBI, you can’t use federal tax dollars, you can’t use the American tax dollars for [inappropriate] activity.'”
Defenders of federal law enforcement, on the other hand, would prefer lawmakers “reform” the agencies rather than dismantle them.
“I think defunding the FBI would be a crazy idea,” said former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Gates voiced concern over Trump’s plans in particular to implement a complete overhaul of the federal bureaucracy in a second term, starting with the Department of Justice.
“Those institutions are critical to the preservation of our democracy, preservation of our economic well-being, and, frankly, our freedom,” Gates told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.
On the contrary, those institutions charged with protecting American freedom have compromised it in pursuit of political power. Americans aren’t truly governed by the rule of law when their institutions are corrupted and weaponized against them. Lawmakers who are serious about “draining the swamp” ought to go after the head of the leviathan, and that’s the FBI.
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Holman Jenkins Jr. recommended a way for Congress to abolish the agency altogether.
“One possibility is a national investigative corps that would be more directly answerable to the 93 U.S. attorneys who are charged with enforcing federal law in the 50 states,” Jenkins wrote two years ago.
The FBI’s “culture at the top seems incapable of using the powers entrusted to it with discretion and good judgment or at least without reliable expectation of embarrassment,” Jenkins wrote. “The agency should be scrapped and something new built to replace it.”