Republican lawmakers continue attacks on FBI to delegitimize the Russia investigation
Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in 2013. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican lawmakers continue attacks on FBI to delegitimize the Russia investigation

A handful of Republican lawmakers have embarked on an effort to discredit the top federal law enforcement agency, charging the FBI with bias as it investigates President Donald Trump and his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

On Tuesday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) became the latest Republican member of Congress to attack the Department of Justice and the FBI, charging both with bias against Trump.

“I would like to see the directors of those agencies purge it and say look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here, those are the people that I want the American people to see and know that good work’s being done, not these people who are kind of the deep state,” Rooney said Tuesday on MSNBC.

Rooney joins a handful of other Republican lawmakers who have tried to discredit the DOJ and FBI, as special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe circles the president.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has been one of the most vocal in his quest to try and damage the FBI’s reputation, and went as far as calling for Mueller to be fired.

“We are at risk of a coup d’état in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States,” Gaetz said in a speech on the House floor on Nov. 8. “That is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mr. Mueller and others at the Department of Justice.”

Source: Congressman Matt Gaetz/YouTube

In December, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) berated Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, telling him that public trust in the FBI is “gone,” and called for a second special counsel to investigate Mueller’s investigation.

These lawmakers are following the president’s lead in trying to discredit the FBI. Trump went on an anti-FBI rant on Dec. 23, calling out Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, for having ties to Hillary Clinton.

The president continued that assault on Tuesday morning, tweeting out an incorrect comment seemingly said on Fox & Friends, which called the infamous Trump-Russia dossier “bogus.”

“WOW, @foxandfrlends ‘Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED,’” Trump tweeted. “And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!”

The FBI, in fact, has verified some of the allegations in the dossier.

A number of Republicans are furious with the GOP officials, including Trump, who are trying to turn Americans against the FBI.

“This is another one of those things I grew used to seeing in third-world dictatorships, but never thought I’d see here: Congressman @FrancisRooney actually calling for a ‘purge’ of law enforcement agency leadership,” Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016 as an independent, tweeted Tuesday. “This follows weeks of Trump and House GOP attacks on the FBI.”

McMullin continued, “Stating the obvious once again — which strangely has become so necessary these days — Trump and a number of Republicans in the House are attempting to weaken U.S. law enforcement so that it can’t hold the Trump administration accountable for potential crimes.”

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com