House Republicans hit the ground running last month, using their newfound majority power to hold hearings and launch investigations into numerous controversies involving the Biden administration and the federal government in general.
On Thursday, that involved a hearing by the provocatively named House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The panel, which falls under the purview of the House Judiciary Committee, was formally established shortly after the new legislative session began earlier this year.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) explained the mission of the subcommittee during a House debate at the time, saying: “This is about the First Amendment, something you guys used to care about. And I’d actually hoped we could get bipartisan agreement on protecting the First Amendment — the five rights we enjoy as Americans under the First Amendment.”
He said that the focus of the panel is not “to go after anyone,” but to merely bring an end to the perceived misuse of governmental power. During the first hearing of the GOP-led subcommittee this week, one of the invited speakers was Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who recounted his experience with whistleblowers who have claimed that the FBI is working to discredit congressional probes into various issues.
“In the past few years, I’ve never seen so much effort from the FBI, partisan media and some of my Democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries,” he said. “It’s become a triad of disinformation and outright falsehoods.”
Among the most notable examples he highlighted on Thursday was the bureau’s alleged effort to weigh in on inquiries into its own handling of Operation Crossfire Hurricane — an attempt to tie the 2016 Trump campaign to Russian operatives.
“It’s clear to me that the Justice Department and FBI are suffering from a political infection that, if it’s not defeated, will cause the American people to no longer trust these storied institutions,” Grassley advised. “It will also threaten our American way of life.”
Grassley’s testimony was followed by an address from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and remarks by the only Democratic elected official invited to speak.
The name of Jim Jordan's new "Weaponization of the Federal Government" subcommittee is a psychological projection and political confession.
Their obvious—and demonstrable—purpose is to abuse the power of Congress to send Donald Trump back to the White House in 2024. pic.twitter.com/vC8x1UbPQS
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) February 9, 2023
Jamie Raskin (D-MD) took a defensive tone in describing the subcommittee in general, claiming: “Millions of Americans already fear that weaponization is the right name for this special subcommittee — not because weaponization of the government is its target but because weaponization of the government is its purpose.”