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Sunday, February 05, 2023

Ryan and Johnson ramp up absurd FBI attacks

Although the State of the Union did not mention it, the state of the special counsel’s investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is in peril.

While former FBI director Robert Mueller presses onwards, Republican congressmen, including Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson, have attempted to undermine the validity of the investigation in ways that are clearly misleading and shocking to those paying attention.

Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee voted to release a memo from its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who had supposedly recused himself from the committee’s Russia investigation for unauthorized disclosures of classified information. The memo alleges unauthorized action by the FBI in regard to their tracking of former Trump campaign official Carter Paige, who was suspected to be coordinating with the Russians.

The committee voted to release the memo despite pleas from Trump’s own Justice Department, which believed the memo’s release would be “reckless” and create a dangerous precedent of releasing classified information.

Republicans voted against a briefing session that would inform the House on the memo’s material, showing they do not want the full picture, but rather cherry-picked information to undermine the FBI. To further prove this point, the Intelligence Committee’s decision to reject the release of a Democratic memo that addresses Nunes’ claim through the underlying intelligence.

This memo perhaps would have put Nunes’ in perspective. This is particularly important considering that after review of the memo, the FBI stated that they “have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

This is all in the midst of a New York Times report stating that Trump pushed for the firing of the special counsel until one of his top lawyers threatened to quit. The push to discredit the FBI by Republicans is not just ironic due to their “pro law-enforcement” stance, but dangerous, cynical and based on myth.

These theories will be broadcasted on right-wing media in an attempt to legitimize the claims of Trump and other Republicans, and potentially a decision to rid the special counsel through a series of bureaucratic steps.

They have alleged there is a “deep-state” conspiracy in which the FBI and the Justice Department have colluded against Trump, blinded by their left-wing political bias. Upon examination, Deputy Attorney’s General Rob Rosenstein is a registered Republican. Former FBI director James Comey? Republican. Current special council prosecutor Robert Mueller? Republican. And lastly, what about the now former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe? Well, he voted in the Republican primary in 2016.

The Trump administration is attempting to portray the FBI and its own Justice Department as the enemy of the state, much as he did with Hillary Clinton and the media.

For someone who is under investigation of colluding with a foreign adversary to win the presidential nomination, that strategy is an act of desperation. However this desperation generates more and more momentum as long as Republicans in congress enable it.

Wisconsin’s own Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson are not only enabling but exacerbating this transparent and disingenuous attack. Ryan has called for the FBI to be “cleansed,” in wake of the memo. Ryan previously explained that the Democratic memo would have to go through a process in which members of the House Intelligence Committee would read it before they could vote on its release. According to the New York Times, when asked why the Nunes memo would not have to go through the same process, he told the reporter that they had asked enough questions.

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Ron Johnson went onto Fox News to explain that he had been informed of a “secret society” within the FBI that was aimed at rigging the election against Trump.

Yes, this is he same FBI that publicized a reopening of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation a few weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

The claim of a “secret society” was proven to be false, and his reliable source ended up being a joke from a text message. Johnson has yet to release a statement apologizing or admitting his wrongdoing.

Trump’s full-fledged assault on federal law enforcement is only possible through a GOP-backed campaign. As long as members of Congress such as Johnson and Ryan continue with their bad faith arguments, the conspiracy against the FBI will remain in the news cycles.

It is up to them to tone down their flagrant support for a conspiracy claim that serves no purpose other than shielding the president from the law. It is up to them to put an end to this madness. I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Jake is a junior majoring in economics and history. How do you feel about the investigation and the recent criticism? Send comments and questions to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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