Gone are the days in which Republicans whine hysterically about Democrats and the drive to “defund the police.” We’ve instead arrived at the point at which a growing number of GOP voices feel quite comfortable talking about defunding the FBI.
At an event last summer, for example, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, the former chair of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, talked up possible priorities if the GOP took control of the House. “There are things you can do,” the Arizonan said, reflecting on Congress’ power. “You start defunding some of these bad agencies. The FBI. The DOJ.”
After the search at Donald Trump’s glorified country club, similar talk became much louder. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, for example, became a leading proponent of “defunding” the FBI. Last month, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told a far-right audience, “We either get this government back on our side or we defund and get rid of, abolish the FBI, the CDC, ATF, DOJ, every last one of them if they do not come to heel.”
Yesterday, as Rolling Stone noted, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee dipped his toes into the same waters.
Republicans love to claim they are the “party of law and order,” and many in the GOP made a big stink when progressives called to defund the police following multiple police shootings of unarmed Black Americans. But some Republicans’ loyalty to cops only lasts until law enforcement does something they don’t like — such as investigating Donald Trump. Then they’re all for defunding the police. Take, for example, Rep. Jim Jordan, who on Sunday endorsed defunding the FBI and Department of Justice.
The far-right Ohioan sat down with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo and summarized his vision for dealing with law enforcement offices and agencies that Republicans apparently have a problem with.
“We control the power of the purse, and that’s, we’re gonna have to look at the appropriations process and limit funds going to some of these agencies, particularly the ones who are engaging in the most egregious behavior,” Jordan said.
When the host asked if he was referring to the FBI and the Justice Department, the GOP congressman said he was.
“Yeah,” Jordan replied. “And what I’d really like, frankly, I’d really like for the government just to stay out of the election process.”
As part of the same interview, the Judiciary Committee chairman again accused federal law enforcement “spying” on Trump’s campaign — a popular claim in far-right circles that continues to be wrong — before attacking the details of an indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that Jordan hasn’t yet seen or read.
Indeed, the closer one looked at the congressman’s on-air comments, the more ridiculous they appeared. Jordan is prepared to “limit funds” to law enforcement agencies engaged in “egregious” misconduct, but to date, neither he nor his hapless “weaponization” panel have uncovered any credible evidence to substantiate his conspiracy theories.
Similarly, Jordan wants federal officials to simply “stay out of the election process,” but his only evidence of agencies intervening in the process is discredited nonsense.
As for the large irony, the FBI has earned a reputation as one of the single most conservative institutions in the federal government. The fact that a growing number of far-right members of Congress are open to defunding it is utterly bizarre.
This post revises our related earlier coverage.