House GOP Opens Weaponization Of Government Panel

Republicans in the House of Representatives are following through on a key midterm election promise through a new panel that examines the role of potential government abuse.

The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government met for the first time this week. The panel’s 21 members are due to consider potential past abuses of government power for political gain.

One goal, say the Republicans leading the panel, is to uncover the potential use of federal power against former President Donald Trump.

The panel was opened by its chair, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who was joined by a number of notable members of both parties. This includes rising GOP leader Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

The panel’s two hearings so far have included multiple notable experts in several fields. These include the testimony of former FBI agents Thomas Baker and Nicole Parker, who believe that the federal law enforcement agency has taken a partisan turn.

The subcommittee also received testimony from longtime Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and newly-reelected Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). The latter is of special note due to his role as the ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The testimony of the law enforcement officials paints a bleak view of the modern FBI. According to Baker’s testimony, the agency went through a major change following the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to Baker, former FBI Director Robert Mueller centralized as much power as possible through the FBI headquarters. This, Baker believes, allowed for an increased risk of abuse. In particular, the former agent described the use of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting former advisor to Donald Trump Carter Page.

The testimony also highlights that the agents believe that the FBI’s role has shifted dramatically from targeting foreign and organized crime to a priority on monitoring domestic political movements. In particular, this power has been used against political leaders such as President Trump.

The subcommittee’s work is ongoing and will be updated as developments transpire.