March 4, 2023


March 3, 2023 (Heather Cox Richardson, 3/03/23, Letters from an American)

Rather than permit them to establish a false narrative, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and the top Democrat on the weaponization subcommittee, Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), today released a deeply researched and footnoted 316-page report that shreds the Republicans' story. 

The report reveals the Republicans' "dozens and dozens of whistleblowers" are, so far at least, three witnesses--whistleblower is actually a specific category and they do not meet that standard--who have left the FBI and have complained that the agency is biased against "conservatives." Two of them lost their security clearances before they left, and while committee Republicans refused to show Democrats the men's suspension notices, one revealed in his testimony that the notice arrived after he had improperly accessed documents from the FBI's classified system. All three embrace a number of conspiracy theories. Under oath, they provided only right-wing accusations of bias without being able to attest to any first-hand knowledge of the things they alleged. 

The witnesses did not come forward on their own; they were identified by former administrators in the Trump administration, including fervent Trump loyalists Kash Patel and Russell Vought. Patel provided money and legal services to two of the witnesses and found one of them a job at Vought's right-wing think tank, the Center for Renewing America, after he left the FBI.

The witnesses were all fervent Trump supporters who were sympathetic to those involved in the January 6th attack. One of them claimed that the January 6th attack was a "set-up" and that it was "a larger #Democrat plan using their enforcement arm, the #FBI." He described the FBI as "the Brown Shirt enforcers of the @DNC," a reference to Nazi Storm Troopers. Another has repeatedly called for the FBI to be "defunded," "dismantled," "dissolved," "aborted," "abolished,"  and "completely eliminated and eradicated from the federal government."

In a section of the report titled "An Analysis of Witness Testimony Shows That Committee Republicans Are Working to Advance a Politically Motivated Messaging Campaign Unsupported by the Evidence," Nadler and Plaskett show how the witness testimony directly rebutted the Republicans' talking points. Under examination, the witnesses disproved that the Department of Justice was trying to pad its case numbers regarding domestic violent extremism, that it had diverted resources from child abuse cases to pursue January 6 offenders, and that the FBI had overreacted to threats of violence against school administrators and local political officials, all Republican talking points. 

The Democrats provided extensive evidence to suggest that Patel was egging on the witnesses to help push Trump's fight against the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Biden administration. 

Democrats challenge credibility of GOP witnesses who embrace false Jan. 6 claims (Justine McDaniel, March 3, 2023, Washington Post)

House Republicans vowing to uncover a "weaponization" of the federal government against conservatives have so far called witnesses who have not presented any evidence of wrongdoing at the Justice Department and FBI but have peddled conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Democrats on the panel who have heard their interviews.

The three witnesses who have participated in transcribed interviews, all former FBI officials, have shown no firsthand evidence of the politically motivated misconduct Republicans say they are investigating. But they have variously promoted dissolving the FBI, cited baseless claims that the Jan. 6 insurrection was planned by Democrats, that rioter Ashli Babbitt was murdered, and made Nazi allusions, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said in a 316-page report released Thursday night. In addition, they said, two of the witnesses were paid and supported by Kash Patel, an ally of former president Donald Trump.

"There is reason to doubt the credibility of these witnesses. Each endorses an alarming series of conspiracy theories related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Covid vaccine, and the validity of the 2020 election," Democrats wrote in the report. "One has called repeatedly for the dismantling of the F.B.I. Another suggested that it would be better for Americans to die than to have any kind of domestic intelligence program."

Posted by at March 4, 2023 7:43 AM