GOP Investigations Stall, Putting Congressional Oversight Mission in Peril

GOP Investigations Stall, Putting Congressional Oversight Mission in Peril
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) presides over a hearing of the Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 9, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Lee Smith

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledged to uncover government corruption and detail the Biden administration’s efforts to undo the pillars of American peace and prosperity. But two months into the new Republican-led Congress, the investigations that McCarthy and GOP leadership promised have barely gotten off the ground.

Because the congressional majority can’t pass meaningful legislation with a Democrat-led Senate and a Democratic president in place, putting evidence of corruption, crimes, and abuses before the U.S. public was supposed to be its core mission. At the top of Republicans’ list were robust investigations of the COVID coverup, China, and the weaponization of the federal government, all of which are now the subjects of three new subcommittees.

The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), was set up to investigate how Biden and other Democrats have used government agencies—especially the FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Homeland Security—to advance partisan goals and target enemies. Its scope, therefore, is enormous—including everything from Russiagate to government and Big Tech’s censorship consortium, and from spying on school parents to what role domestic intelligence services may have played in inciting the violence that marked the Jan. 6, 2021, protest.

Accordingly, the weaponization subcommittee may be the most important of all the newly established subcommittees, said Mike Davis, founder of the Article III Project.

“If we have a politicized and weaponized Justice Department and intel apparatus,” Davis said, “that is a recipe for a Banana Republic.”

In the latest episode of “Over the Target Live,” Davis and retired Col. Derek Harvey, a former congressional investigator, explained why Republican investigations are stalled and how GOP leadership can change course. And they’d better, Davis and Harvey said, because the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Harvey was part of former congressman Devin Nunes’s investigative team that uncovered FBI and DOJ abuses committed during the Trump-Russia probe.

“We had a very small staff, and the scale and scope of the problem that Jim Jordan has with the weaponization committee is far beyond ours,” Harvey said.

The problem, he explained, is that even though Republicans have known for a year that they were likely to win back the House, they failed to prepare for the investigations they promised.

“We already knew what a lot of the issues were going to be,” Harvey said. “And they haven’t hired staff, they don’t even have people lined up for what’s required of this weaponization effort in order to get to the documents, the actual evidence to do the depositions and then have the hearings.”

According to Davis’s sources, Jordan was reluctant to staff the weaponization subcommittee for fear the Democrats would do the same. But “the Democrats are already staffed up, they already have thousands of staffers,” Davis said, referring to the intelligence bureaucracy that has a stake in thwarting the weaponization probe. “They’re called FBI, CIA, broader Justice Department, broader intel community. We are outnumbered and outgunned.”

And it appears that Republicans are partly to blame for being short-handed. Jordan is also chair of the Judiciary Committee, which means he already has a large workload that leaves him less time and attention to devote to the weaponization subcommittee.

“Jim Jordan’s trying to run this subcommittee himself with his full committee staff.” And that work is unmanageable unless you dedicate enough staff and resources, said Davis, who is a former counsel on Sen. Charles Grassley’s staff. Jordan should “appoint a vice chairman” to the weaponization probe, and let “the vice chairman build a big staff that’s dedicated only to the weaponization select subcommittee,” Davis said.

Harvey agreed that the weaponization investigation is crucial. He said he would start by focusing on the DOJ’s National Security Division. “That’s where most of this stuff is originated,” Harvey said. “Lisa Monaco, for example, the deputy [attorney general] came out of the National Security Division.”

The right approach is to go after records and meeting notes, Harvey said, “and then subpoena those people in the government, as well as bringing in people that they were engaged with outside, including at the [Democratic National Committee] and the [law firms] like Perkins Coie, a law firm that is a political arm of these folks.”

Whistleblowers would be helpful, Harvey said, but to convince people to come forward, investigators have to show they mean business. When he was investigating Russiagate, he said, sources provided “good information that ... helped us point the way to what we needed to demand in the way of documents or depositions from other people, by members of the FBI and DOJ and CIA understanding that we were serious and we weren’t going to be pushed away because of threats.”

Jordan has asked for more money to staff up the weaponization subcommittee, “and that’s a very good pivot,” Davis said. But money alone won’t fix the problem. Davis said Republican investigators have to issue subpoenas immediately, and the courts will honor them.

“If these subpoenas deal with a legislative issue,” for instance, Davis said, “whether the president is compromised by Chinese and Ukrainian oligarchs is clearly a legitimate legislative issue within Congress’s oversight portfolio. Whether the Justice Department is politicized and weaponized against one party for the other is clearly within Congress’s legitimate legislative oversight portfolio.”

Davis said that a reinforced weaponization staff should ask for help from experienced investigators. “I wish Jim Jordan or his staff director or his chief counsel would pick up the phone and call Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley and his team would be more than happy to help them. Grassley is the king of oversight.”

The clock is running on the Republican-led House, and there will be a price to pay if they don’t deliver on their promises.

“In two years when House Republicans come up with nothing on all three of these select committees,” Davis said, “conservatives are going to be irate, and they’re going to stay home and House Republicans are going to lose the House of Representatives.”

But the larger point isn’t simply about Republicans squandering their control of Congress—it’s about Americans losing the republic.

Davis said: “We can’t have two systems of justice in America: one for Biden and his supporters and one for the rest of us. We cannot continue down this path.”

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Lee Smith is a veteran journalist whose work appears in Real Clear Investigations, the Federalist, and Tablet. He is the author of “The Permanent Coup” and “The Plot Against the President.”
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