It was last August when Rep. Jim Jordan first referenced a group of FBI insiders, whom he referred to as “whistleblowers.” As the Ohio Republican put it at the time, these unidentified individuals had privately shared provocative information with him about the politicization of the bureau, fueling GOP conspiracy theories.
Almost immediately, the far-right congressman’s story was, in a rather literal sense, unbelievable.
As we’ve discussed, the FBI already has an established process in place for employees to report wrongdoing, including the option of reaching out to the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office. Jordan, however, appeared to be referring to a far more informal process in which a group of FBI employees quietly circumvented official channels and contacted a relatively powerless member of the House minority. It was difficult not to be skeptical.
Nearly eight months later, Jordan is now chairing both the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and the Ohioan is still excited about his “whistleblowers.” But as it turns out, Democratic members of the weaponization panel have taken a closer look at Jordan’s star witnesses, as The New York Times reported, they’ve uncovered a few problem.
[T]he first three witnesses to testify privately before the new Republican-led House committee investigating the “weaponization” of the federal government have offered little firsthand knowledge of any wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to Democrats on the panel who have listened to their accounts. Instead, the trio appears to be a group of aggrieved former F.B.I. officials who have trafficked in right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, and received financial support from a top ally of former President Donald J. Trump.
The 316-page report from the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee was released to the public last night, and it includes extensive documentation about the GOP’s witnesses.
As the Times’ report added, the report helps prove that Jordan’s “whistleblowers” are not actual whistleblowers, and more importantly, they’ve “engaged in partisan conduct that calls into question their credibility.”
This comes on the heels of Jordan recently holding a hearing of his “weaponization” committee, in which Republicans whined about old grievances without new information. It was at the same hearing that the first two Republican witnesses, who were supposed to testify about the “weaponization” of the federal government, were a professor who was once an intern in a government office and an FBI agent who retired in 1999.
Rolling Stone reported this week that no one is impressed.
[S]o far, Republicans have brought only three of those whistleblowers to Capitol Hill for questioning. ... In the interviews conducted to date, witnesses have offered contradictory responses, maintained fringe and violent online presences that undermine their credibility, and failed to demonstrate first-hand knowledge of alleged FBI wrongdoing. The results have left Democrats gleeful and even some Republicans deeply unimpressed. A “dumpster fire,” is how one Democrat with knowledge of the at-times combative interactions terms the proceedings. “Clearly there is room to grow and improve before [more] public hearings,” a Republican familiar with the process tells Rolling Stone. But the work so far, the Republican says, has been “very much amateur hour,” adding that airing this “stuff on live television would make us look like morons.”
When House Republicans launched their misguided “weaponization” committee, it was intended to strike fear in the hearts of their perceived political foes. The panel’s targets were supposed to take one look at the committee’s comically broad mandate, and its lineup of partisan attack dogs, and tremble.
But the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government isn’t scary; it’s pitiful.