House Republicans to open FBI investigations in China

House Republicans to open FBI investigations in China

House Republicans to open FBI investigations in China

House Republicans move on Tuesday to quickly establish their new majority’s trademark surveys, voting to create panels focused on China and what they say is rampant abuse of power in the federal government.

Newly empowered GOP lawmakers pledge accountability to the Biden administration, pledging to investigate federal law enforcement agencies, including those investigating former President Donald Trump .

Republicans are also establishing a committee to investigate “strategic competition” between the United States and China, in line with the party’s push for a tougher approach to the Asian nation.

The creation of the committees is the first of many investigative steps Republicans plan to take as they settle into their narrow majority and attempt to serve as a check against President Joe Biden and his agenda on Capitol Hill.

It amounts to a massive reshuffling of oversight priorities by Democrats, who used their majority to form a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 uprising on Capitol Hill. That committee is no more, and Republicans have no plans to revive it, instead vowing to take a closer look at the actions of law enforcement.

Republicans have officially referred to one of the review panels as “Federal Government Armament,” a name that, from the outset, suggests the group’s investigations could be one-sided. The investigation will be conducted under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, which is headed by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a hardliner who is a close Trump ally.

The committee is given a broad mandate, to investigate the executive branch’s “expanded role” in “gathering information about citizens of the United States or otherwise investigating, including ongoing criminal investigations “. information, a privilege usually reserved for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

First, they are investigating what they call a coordinated Justice Department effort “to go after the parents” and brand them as domestic terrorists following an increase in threats against members of the school board, teachers and other employees of public schools across the country.

“The real focus was always what 14 FBI agents came in and told Republican court personnel about what’s going on with the FBI and the very first one was on the school board,” Jordan told reporters Monday. “We’ll start with those people and go from there once we’re up and running with our committee members.”

The GOP’s focus on issues like parents’ rights in schools stems from the indiscipline that has engulfed local education meetings across the country since the pandemic began, with council members regularly confronted and threatened by angry protesters. There is no evidence that the FBI ever declared the protesting parents “domestic terrorists,” despite the Republican rhetoric.

Jordan, who is expected to lead the investigation, said the committee is modeled after the bipartisan “Church Committee,” a 1970s congressional inquiry that sought to investigate allegations that the US government spied on its own citizens for decades. This investigation led to important reforms. with passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and eventually the formation of the National Security Agency.

Democrats have opposed the committee’s creation, calling it a partisan tool for Republicans to sue the Justice Department because Trump faces several federal criminal investigations, including for his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and its management and storage of presidential records. at Mar-a-Lago.

“Republicans claim to care about law enforcement. But this new committee is out to attack law enforcement,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a senior member of the Rules Committee, told the House. “It’s about going after people. It’s about destroying people’s careers and lives. This is to undermine the Department of Justice.

The heavily partisan debate over the Judiciary Committee contrasts sharply with the bipartisan support for the Chinese panel, which will be led by Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. Members of both sides said more attention should be paid to the global implications of China’s economic competition strategy.

“You have my word and my commitment. This is not a partisan committee,” Chairman Kevin McCarthy said. “It’s my hope, my desire, my wish that we speak with one voice and focus on the challenges that we have.”

He added: “The threat is too great for us to bicker with ourselves.”

Who sits on either committee beyond the presidents will be a decision of the leadership of Congress. The House is in the process of appointing the various standing committees, a process that is expected to be controversial as McCarthy has already pledged to retaliate against Democrats for removing several far-right members from their assignments in the last Congress.

Some of the proposed names for the judiciary subcommittee include Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., whose phone was seized in August as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“Why should I be restricted just because someone made an accusation?” Perry said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” with host George Stephanopoulos. “Everyone in America is innocent until proven guilty.”

But Democrats allege members like Perry and Jordan will use the committee as a way to fend off agencies investigating them and their allies.

“They’re actually trying to forgive themselves with the creation of this select committee,” McGovern said. “It is unacceptable.”

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