Republican outrage over FBI swells as more problems about bureau emerge

"You've got this political cabal that is weaponizing the FBI and DOJ against private citizens for their own political power," Sen. Marsha Blackburn said.

Published: June 9, 2023 12:44am

Updated: June 9, 2023 3:42pm

The nearly steady flow of reports and leaks about alleged corruption and cover-ups within the FBI have resulted in a growing chorus of criticism and calls for reform among Republican lawmakers. 

"There are good people who work there," Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said Wednesday, in support of what she considers patriotic employees in the bureau and the larger Justice Department who continue to do good work.  

"But you've got this political cabal that is weaponizing the FBI and DOJ against private citizens for their own political power," she said. "That is why they're doing this, and people are appalled."

Blackburn, the top Republican on the Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security Subcommittee, made the comments on the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show after House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer reviewed a document that purportedly contains an allegation from a human source saying that President Biden, while vice president, was involved in a $5 million bribery scheme involving a foreign national.

“Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially, and demand answers, transparency and accountability,” Comer said after the bureau finally agreed to allow the entire panel to see the document.

However, that has not been the only revelation in the past couple of weeks, months and years that has tarnished the reputation of the country's top crime fighting agencies.

Last month, FBI whistleblowers testified before a House committee about having been suspended for vocalizing concerns about the bureau's treatment of whistleblowers who come forward and what they consider the politically motivated weaponization of the FBI.

Also in May, special counsel John Durham released a final report highly critical of the FBI, Justice Department and U.S. intelligence community for pursuing an investigation into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government without evidence to substantiate the underlying allegations.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is among Republican lawmakers and others who also argued the FBI and Justice Department operate on a "two-tier" justice system – one that appears to allow Democrats to go unchecked and another that's fixated on trying to ensnare Republicans, including former President Trump, who was the focal point of the Russia collusion probe.

"It's more of the same of this double standard we see all too often, which is what's so frustrating for the American people and why the approval rating of the Justice Department and the FBI is what it is," Jordan said. 

A poll published earlier this week by Rasmussen Reports found that 60% of likely U.S. voters believe that the FBI was involved in covering up the Biden family's alleged crimes.

The survey found 48% of respondents thought a cover-up was "very likely" compared to 33% who didn't believe it was likely.

The poll also found the FBI's favorability rating has fallen underwater for the first time. Only 44% of likely voters said they had a favorable view of the bureau, down from 60% in 2018. Independents also held a harsh view with only 36% viewing the bureau in a favorable light.

Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs has said that the FBI either needs to be defunded or drastically reformed. 

"That's why I have advocated for either you have to dissolve the FBI and reconstitute something that's more trustworthy, or you have to just start parceling out and getting rid of some of the parts of the FBI that are corrupt," Biggs said in an interview last month. 

"The leadership of the FBI and DOJ seems to be hopelessly corrupted politically," he also said. "There's just no reason to trust them."

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