The FBI’s unprecedented raid on a former president’s residence is the most recent and stark example of the degree to which the federal law enforcement apparatus is being weaponized to protect the country’s political left and to attack its political right. These actions reveal the need for serious action by Congress to protect the American people and restore self-government in this country. This should include the creation of a stand-alone oversight committee—modeled after Senator Frank Church’s committee in the 1970s— to investigate the FBI and the other national security agencies that have participated in activities antithetical to a country that purports to be ruled by its citizens.
A History of Abuses and Corruption
- Russia Hoax: The FBI knowingly used false information, collectively known as the Steele Dossier, as a pretext for investigating a Republican candidate’s presidential campaign. The dossier was produced by the rival Hillary Clinton campaign. Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty to lying to the FISA court, which granted warrants for secret surveillance of the Trump campaign.
- Political Bias: FBI Agent Peter Strzok, a lead investigator into false allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia, famously sent a text to his FBI colleague, Lisa Page, saying the FBI “will stop” Trump from becoming president. Both Strzok and Page were later discovered to have worked together to keep open the prosecution of Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn, even after DOJ had dropped the case. Taxpayers are still funding Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s legal fees. McCabe signed off on the Russian collusion narrative, pursued FISA warrants against the Trump campaign, and lied to investigators under oath, three times.
- Entrapment: The FBI devised a fraudulent entrapment case against four citizens accused of a kidnapping plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. A jury acquitted two of the four men in April 2022, after determining the FBI had entrapped and enticed the defendants to consider the action. Instead of being reprimanded, the head of the Detroit field office in charge was promoted to the prestigious Washington, DC field office after these events, showing the extent to which the FBI’s culture is compromised.
- Targeting School Board Parents: At the behest of the National School Board Association, the FBI began targeting concerned parents protesting Critical Race Theory and other divisive concepts as domestic terrorists. The DOJ’s National Security Division, created in the wake of 9/11, is involved in this effort. To be clear, the National Security Division, intended to protect against foreign terrorists, is focused on concerned parents exercising their democratic rights at school board townhalls.
- Using Law Enforcement to Protect President Biden’s Children: (1) FBI agents raided the private residence of journalist James O’Keefe allegedly searching for a missing diary belonging to President Biden’s daughter, and (2) despite video evidence of multiple federal felonies, protecting President Biden’s son from prosecution.
- Ignoring Hillary Clinton’s Private Server: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intentionally mishandled government documents–including classified documents–using a private server she had installed in her home in order to keep them in her personal control and out of government control, but the DOJ declined to prosecute and then-FBI Director Comey made the announcement of that declination–completely contrary to proper protocol (i.e., prosecutors decide whether to prosecute [DOJ], while law enforcement [FBI] merely investigates).
- Refusing to Prosecute Pro-Abortion Extremism: There have been more than 80 firebombings and acts of vandalism against crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life women’s centers, and churches since the Dobbs decision was leaked to Politico from inside the Supreme Court. The FBI has refused to classify these acts as domestic terrorism.
The FBI has forfeited the benefit of the doubt in the minds of millions of Americans. Institutions require widespread public trust to maintain their legitimacy and yet the trajectory of public sentiment has rightfully been trending downward for years.
The Raid That Crossed the Rubicon
The August 8th raid on President Trump’s residence is a significant escalation from an already-politicized FBI. Details of the event have been intentionally withheld by the Biden Administration. AG Garland took several days to announce his request for the warrant to be unsealed and declare he personally approved the raid a mere 90 days ahead of the midterm elections. President Trump complied with a previous subpoena. The FBI’s unprecedented and significant departure from historical norms appear purely political in nature and simply cannot be justified. It appears that the FBI is engaging in a political fishing expedition through the plain view doctrine, which would allow them to seize evidence of an alleged crime without a warrant if the evidence is in the open.
The Path Forward
Congress must take three actions to restore the American people’s confidence in our institutions:
- Establish a Modern-day Church Committee: Congress must immediately establish a modern-day Church Committee, structured as a stand-alone committee affording due process to members of the minority party, to investigate the depth and breadth of corruption, incompetence, and political bias under current and past leadership of the FBI. The Committee must then propose legislative action to restore transparency, accountability, and firm statutory limits to prevent the agency from being politically weaponized. The scope of the committee should be broad, criminal violations should be referred for prosecution as the committee sees fit, and the guilty should face jail time.
- Condition Funding of the FBI on the Implementation of Major Reforms: Congress controls the purse strings of the Executive Branch agencies. All future funding of the FBI – through any appropriations vehicle – should require the agency to implement the systemic reforms proposed by Congress, designed to hold the FBI accountable to its singular mission: neutral enforcement of the law. Any program, position, or investigation that seeks to undermine that mission with overtly partisan purpose should be defunded.
- Impeach Garland and Wray: Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray have overseen their agencies during the most partisan and vindictive enforcement era in recent memory. Congressional investigators should immediately subpoena all documents related to these matters. Their tenure has diminished faith in America’s premier law enforcement institutions, flaunting both the mandate of the voters and the oversight role of Congress. They should be impeached and removed.
This crisis is of the FBI’s own making and one that cannot be remedied solely through oversight hearings, explanatory statements, personnel changes, or the passage of time. In the eyes of far too many Americans, with good reason, the Bureau is an illegitimate and rogue agency with a partisan mission designed to promulgate a two-tiered system of “justice.” To remedy this, Congress must use its impeachment power to remove Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, and then undertake a systemic reform of the Bureau through a modern-day Church Committee. Congress must also leverage every point of the agency’s funding to ensure that its will is enforced.
The American experiment will crumble if the country’s governing agencies are turned into nothing more than vehicles to exact political vengeance on perceived enemies of those in power. It has become clear that the FBI will not be shamed into better governance, and Congress must wrestle the agency back into its constitutional limits.