Amanda Carpenter at The Bulwark points us toward a report issued by the Republican staff of the House Judiciary Committee back in November entitled “FBI Whistleblowers: What Their Disclosures Indicate About The Politicization Of The FBI And Justice Department” as the playbook for what’s coming from all the snipe hunters in the House, including Rep. James Comer at House Oversight, from whatever Cloud Cuckoo Land is occupied by the Select Subcommittee On Creative Ass-Covering, and from Jim Jordan himself. This will be enormously helpful in sorting out what imaginary dragons the Republican House will be pursuing from day to day.
Of course, the report itself is shot through with so much high-pitched whining that anyone reading it is likely to be rendered deaf by the time any hearings open. Attributed to “whistleblowers”—and god alone knows who these people are—the report regurgitates every lame-ass conservative complaint of the past decade. To wit:
[The Department of Justice’s then-Director of the Election Crimes Branch Richard] Pilger, too, has a sordid history of using federal law-enforcement powers to target conservatives. In 2010, responding to a public appeal from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about so-called “dark money” in politics, Pilger pushed the idea to notorious Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner that the Obama Justice Department could criminally prosecute conservative nonprofit groups. This pressure campaign ultimately resulted in the IRS targeting scandal, in which the IRS systematically delayed and overly scrutinized the tax-exempt applications filed by conservative groups. Pilger quit the Justice Department following the 2020 election because he believed that he—not the Attorney General—had authority to dictate investigative steps relating to election fraud. Pilger quickly rejoined the Justice Department in his former role at the outset of the Biden Administration.
If they’re really planning on digging up the dead horse that is the so-called IRS “targeting” scandal so they can beat it all over again, then we are in for a long two years. But it’s not all dead ashes; the Republicans appear ready to run cover for just about anyone from the wilder end of their ideological spectrum.
Not only is the FBI apparently exaggerating the number of actual DVE [domestic violent extremist] cases, it appears to have manufactured at least one DVE case. Weeks before the November 2020 presidential election, the Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against six men for allegedly conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Evidence presented at trial suggests that FBI assets were directly involved in the kidnapping plot. Defense attorneys argued that the FBI set up their clients. Evidence presented in the trial revealed an extravagant taxpayer-funded FBI entrapment scheme that involved at least twelve confidential human sources (CHS) and undercover agents who assembled a group of men over a half-year period “with unstable personal histories (that left them extraordinarily susceptible to persuasion) and injected into the mix the kind of father-figure, military-hero role models the men craved in their lives.” At the time of their recruitment by FBI assets, multiple defendants were allegedly destitute.
Of course, since last October, five men have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the plot to kidnap Whitmer. Not even a month ago, Adam Fox was sentenced to 16 years for being the ringleader of the plot to kidnap Whitmer. His lawyers attempted to use the FBI’s conduct as a defense. The jury didn’t buy it. From the BBC:
As well as conspiring to abduct Ms Whitmer, Fox was sentenced for planning to use a weapon of mass destruction to blow up a bridge after the kidnapping, to make it easier to escape. Fox and his co-defendant Barry Croft Jr, 47, were found guilty by a federal court in August. Croft, who is also a member of the Three Percenters militia group, is due to be sentenced on Wednesday. In August, a jury determined that the two men were guilty of conspiring to obtain weapons of mass destruction – a bomb – to blow up a bridge in order to thwart a police response to the planned kidnapping. Croft, a native of Delaware, was also convicted on a separate explosives charge. Fox and others planned to kidnap Ms Whitmer at gunpoint, and take her to stand “trial” on bogus treason charges. The militia group’s kidnap plot was largely motivated by their opposition to public health measures during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That Jordan and the rest of his band of misfits are going to re-litigate the Whitmer plot is no surprise once you read elsewhere in their report that the FBI will be accused of misusing its power to pursue “the illusion that FBI field offices around the country are investigating a groundswell of domestic terrorism cases, giving the impression that the threat of DVE is present in jurisdictions across the nation.”
The report also quotes one of its whistleblowers referring to the January 6 insurrection as “single black swan incident at the Capitol.”
These new whistleblower disclosures indicate that the Washington Field Office’s (WFO) handling of DVE investigations relating to January 6 “diverge[s]” from established practice in a way that overstates the national DVE threat. One whistleblower described how FBI agents ordinarily characterize and label cases according to the originating field office, with leads “cut” to other field offices for specific assistance in that geographic location. The whistleblower alleged that “the FBI has not followed regular procedure” with respect to January 6 cases, which should all be officially led by the WFO and categorized as WFO cases. The whistleblower explained: Instead, task force members in Washington D.C. identify “potential subjects” and possible locations where these individuals reside. The task force disseminates information packets with instructions to open full investigations to [local] Field Offices around the country. As such, if a subject lives in Dallas, the Dallas Field Office is expected to open the case.
The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is going to use its investigative powers to run cover for domestic terrorism, up to and including rewriting the history of January 6 until it’s unrecognizable to anybody who watched it on television. That’s a thought that’s going to fester for a while.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children.