Friday, February 10, 2023

Grassley Sets Sights on Wray, FBI, Dems, and Media in Testimony Before Hearing on Weaponization of Federal Government

 By Sarah Lee |

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

While everyone’s been focused on Wednesday’s Oversight hearing examining the role Big Tech played in suppressing both the Hunter Biden laptop story and unpopular views about COVID (and there have been many gems from that hearing, to be sure), Thursday opened with a hearing that may end up even more revealing and disturbing: the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who, along with Republican colleague Sen. Ron Johnson (MN), has been investigating the Biden family’s business and financial relationships with foreign nations such as China since at least 2020 — and was approached by FBI whistleblowers who alleged that the agency was working to discredit their findings — provided opening testimony to the Select Subcommittee that Americans would do well to give as much of their attention as they’ve given Twitter’s misdeeds.

“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 continued. “It’s become a triad of disinformation and outright falsehoods.”

Grassley cited numerous examples from his investigations, in particular those involving Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s surveillance effort involving the Trump campaign. He further recounted public comments by his Democratic colleagues maligning his efforts and various leaks to the media of his meetings with the FBI.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats responded by accusing the committee of seeking not to ferret out weaponization, but to weaponize.

“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,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the only Democratic member invited to speak as a witness on Thursday.

 That’s an understandably defensive position considering the thrashing Grassley gave the FBI and media, which he insinuated were partisan organizations working on behalf of Democrats.

“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. It will also threaten our American way of life,” Grassley said.

“I’ve ran countless investigations in the past few years, I’ve never seen so much ever from the FBI, the partisan media and some of my Democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries,” said Grassley.

Weaponization of the intelligence agency and suppression of legitimate news reports on the president’s son are not the only items Grassley has in his sights as he continues his work, which may make the committee’s work on the House side spicier than people realize. Last year, it was reported a whistleblower had informed the Senator that hundreds of FBI agents and personnel had resigned or retired to avoid accountability for probes into its conduct, up to and including sexual misconduct.

The whistleblower told the office of Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the Justice Department launched the review of the FBI’s disciplinary database in 2020 following an Associated Press investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving at least six senior FBI officials.

The follow-up review found 665 FBI employees, including 45 senior-level officials, resigned or retired between 2004 and 2020 following a misconduct probe but before a final disciplinary letter could be issued, according to a letter this week from Grassley to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The shake-up at the FBI is the first step in addressing Americans’ growing mistrust in her governing institutions. Fundamental changes may be coming for Big Tech, but they may also be coming for government agencies.

Full Grassley testimony is below. Watch it.




Miffed Justice Department Whines About Jim Jordan's 'Premature' Subpoenas of Garland, Wray

By Mike Miller |

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

You ever wonder how Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Directory Christopher Wray feel now that the Republican Caucus is in control of the House and the screws are beginning to turn in the opposite direction after two years under Democrat control of the House? Me neither, but I’m enjoying the show.

Speaking of which, as my colleague Nick Arama reported, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Thursday praised “dozens and dozens” of FBI whistleblowers coming forth to reveal the political goings-on within Attorney General Merrick Garland’s “weaponized” Department of Justice:

In my time in Congress, I have never seen anything like this. Dozens and dozens of whistleblowers, FBI agents coming to us, talking to us about what’s going in the political nature at the Justice Department.

Reading from a list of the whistleblowers, Jordan revealed multiple examples of improprieties allegedly carried out by FBI officials in 2021 and 2022. As reported by The Hill, Jordan last Friday issued subpoenas to Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona over a memo dealing with alleged threats against school board members.

The subpoena compelled Wray to turn over documents to the committee by 9 a.m. ET on March 1, and also demanded documents related to the DOJ’s task force that focused on identifying school board threats and the FBI’s role as a member of that task force.

Garland signed the memo in October 2021, noting a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” amid broader discussion over draconian COVID-19 policies and issues related to teaching (indoctrinating) students about so-called “Critical Race Theory,” which school boards across America have consistently denied by name only — vs. content. 

The DOJ and FBI have reportedly provided little to no information in response to a series of more than 100 letters on the memo from Judiciary Republicans, which finally led to Jordan dropping the subpoenas on Garland, Wray, and Cordero. As reviewed by The Hill, the subpoenas asked for all communications between the various entities and the National School Board Association, which first wrote to the DOJ asking for help in dealing with rising threats.

Now, as reported by Fox News on Thursday, the Justice Department is firing back at Jordan, laughably calling the subpoenas “premature.” In a response letter to Jordan, the Justice Department called the subpoenas premature because the DOJ claimed it had already offered to engage with Jordan’s Judiciary Committee. Carlos Felipe Uriarte, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legislative Affairs, wrote:

We remain ready to discuss next steps for the Department to address your informational needs while also respecting Executive Branch interests.

Hang on. I haven’t read the subpoena but as I wrote, earlier, according to The Hill’s review, it compels Wray to turn over documents to the committee by 9 a.m. ET on March 1, and demands documents related to the DOJ’s task force that focused on identifying school board threats and the FBI’s role as a member of that task force. Seems to me those two demands clearly lay out the DOJ’s “next steps,” so what’s to discuss?

Uriarte continued:

The overwhelming majority of congressional requests for information are resolved through voluntary discussion and cooperation. This process of accommodation is also constitutionally mandated. Both Congress and the Executive Branch are required to negotiate in good faith to meet the informational needs of Congress while protecting the institutional interests of the Executive Branch.

Whether Biden’s DOJ and FBI have “negotiated in good faith” or not is a question I can’t answer, but based on everything we’ve seen from congressional testimony to the Twitter Files, I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess “oh hell no, they haven’t.”

An FBI spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital that “Director Wray and other FBI officials have stated clearly on numerous occasions before Congress and elsewhere, the FBI has never been in the business of investigating speech or policing speech at school board meetings or anywhere else, and we never will be.”

Fine. Then turn over the requested documents to Jordan’s Judiciary Committee on or before March 1, and the DOJ and FBI should be good to go, right, Mr. Uriarte? Mr. Uiarte? Hello? We must have been disconnected.

Jordan’s office told Fox News on Thursday that the “DOJ’s response [to his letter] is wholly inadequate, flawed, and ignores the last two years of requests from our Committee.”

Huh. I woulda never figured.