Investigating the investigators: GOP’s new ‘weaponization’ panel takes aim at Justice Department

A new panel focusing on bias perceptions at the Department of Justice will allow Republicans to support their repeated accusations of corruption at the Department of Justice.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R. CA) was having trouble attracting the votes necessary to secure the gavel. He offered to allow the formation of a committee to investigate “weaponization” of the federal government to placate his critics.

This idea was quickly adopted by a small GOP majority. The Senate’s Democrats will retain the Senate so that the oversight function of the Senate is not compromised. However, the Senate will still be able to pass legislation.

The House Rules Package, which was adopted Monday, provided few details for the committee.

The rules package that established the select committee contained a section “expressing support for Nation’s law enforcement agents and condemning any attempts to defund or dismantle them.”

Critics are concerned that the Republicans could use the panel to weaken ongoing criminal investigations, including those related to Jan. 6, 2021 riot, and to deepen mistrust in the FBI.

“So, why not just be blunt here?” Rep. Jim McGovern (D–MA) stated on the House floor. “Republicans claim that they care about law enforcement. This new committee is all about attacking law enforcement.

Republicans believe that a closer look at DOJ bias should be done. Many have tried to separate their suspicions of political corruption from their support for law enforcement.

The new select committee may have broad goals.

McCarthy described the panel in his negotiations as a “Church style” committee, which was modeled after an iconic 1970s investigative effort.

Named after Sen. Frank Church, the 1975 Church Committee was created to investigate abuses at the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Tom Cole, Chairman of the House Rules Committee (Republican from Oklahoma), said that the panel on “weaponization” will also examine how corporations collaborate with federal officials in order to advance partisan agendas.

Cole stated that the agency would investigate the ways in which the executive branch agencies interact with and exchange information between the private sector and other government agencies to facilitate actions against American citizens. Cole also explained how executive branch agencies collect and analyze information about citizens of the United States.

This could include an investigation into recent information published in Twitter files which suggests that the FBI and other federal agents worked closely with the platform to suppress conservative views in the name of public security.

Jim Jordan, House Judiciary Chairman (R-OH), is expected to head the weaponization panel. It will be formed as a subcommittee within the judiciary committee.

Jordan has extensive experience in high-profile congressional investigations. He was, for example, a star member on the select committee that investigated the Benghazi terror attacks.