WASHINGTON — Newly elected House Republicans are preparing a sweeping investigation of law enforcement and national security agencies, which are embroiled in a politically charged feud with the Biden administration over access to sensitive information such as highly classified intelligence and details of the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation. increasing the chances of ,

The House plans to vote this week on a proposal to create a special House Judiciary subcommittee on what it calls “weaponizing the federal government,” a topic Republicans have indicated will include former President Donald J. A review of Trump’s investigation could be involved.

The panel will be overseen by Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is also set to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee. It remains to be seen who will impose it on Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who made several concessions to a far-right faction of his party in order to win the speakership.

in a fox news interview On Friday evening, Representative Chip Roy of Texas, a key negotiator for hard-right lawmakers who pushed McCarthy’s team for concessions, featured on the panel as part of an agreement to support him. He said Mr. McCarthy had committed to giving the subcommittee at least as much funding and staffing as the House special committee in the previous Congress that investigated the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

“So we got more resources, more exclusivity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration,” Mr. Roy said. “It’s really important.”

A spokesman for Mr. Jordan did not respond to a request for comment, but both he and Mr. McCarthy have spoken for months about their desire for such an investigation and have pledged to do so during the 2022 campaign.

In his first remarks as speaker, Mr McCarthy said early Saturday, “We will hold the quagmire accountable, from the return of Afghanistan to the origin of Covid and the weaponization of the FBI.” “Let me be very clear: We will use the power of the wallet and the power of summons to get the job done.”

The text of the resolution establishing the subcommittee calls for the panel to examine any issue related to civil liberties or the way any agency of the federal government collects, analyzes and uses information about Americans in a mandatory open-ended manner. Ended jurisdiction – which includes “ongoing criminal investigations”. ,

Department of Justice has Traditionally opposed to providing information to Congress about open criminal investigationssuggesting that legal and political wrangles were most likely over subpoenas and executive privilege.

Republicans are promoting Mr. Jordan’s panel as a new “Church committee,” a reference to a 1970s investigation by Senator Frank Church, a Democrat of Idaho, that included decades of intelligence and civil liberties by presidents of both parties. The abuses were exposed.

But in a climate in which Mr. Trump has been the subject of multiple criminal investigations over the years — including his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and continuing inquiries into hoarding sensitive documents — Democrats predicted the new investigative subcommittee would adopt There was likely a more partisan edge.

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the Church committee was “a serious and bipartisan effort to reform the conduct of the intelligence community, based on hard and verifiable evidence.”

In contrast, he said that “this new thing, fueled by conspiracy theories and expected to be driven by the most extreme members of the Maga Caucus,” was likely to be more like the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee of the mid-20th century. . century.

Mr. Jordan is a staunch ally of Mr. Trump. Late last year, as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee when his party was still in the minority, he oversaw a 1,000-page staff report that claimed the FBI “spied on President Trump’s campaign and ridiculed conservative Americans” and “the rot within the FBI comes from Washington and goes on.

The resolution appears to seek information about the special counsel investigation by Mr. Trump into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents, as well as other politically charged matters such as the open tax investigation of President Biden. Empowers the Department of Justice to issue summons. Son, Hunter Biden.

The text of the resolution would also give Jordan’s panel the power to obtain the same highly classified information that intelligence agencies make available to its oversight committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Members of the Intelligence Committee have access to some of the most sensitive secrets in government, including information about covert operations that is not shared with other MPs. Traditionally, the Leader of the House holds members of his party’s intelligence panel to be particularly trustworthy not to disclose classified information.

While Mr Jordan’s investigative unit will be housed within the Judiciary Committee, its 13 members – eight of whom will be Republicans – will not be limited to lawmakers on that committee.

It is unclear, for example, whether Republican leaders will choose hard-right members, such as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, who was suspended from her committee assignments in 2021 for making a series of violent and conspiratorial social media posts. was removed. was chosen. Mr. McCarthy has already promised her a position on the House Oversight Committee, and she broke with other far-right members to support his speakership bid from the first ballot, as did Mr. Jordan.

Such a situation could result in lawmakers trying to scuttle the Justice Department’s investigation as the probe potentially probes the conduct of those same lawmakers in relation to the events of January 6.

In an interview on ABC’s “The Week” on Sunday, Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who played a key role in Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, dismissed a suggestion that he should One should resolve not to do service. Jordan’s subcommittee because she could investigate the January 6 investigation and as a witness in that investigation – the FBI seized her cellphone – she had a conflict of interest.

“Why should I be limited – why should someone be limited just because someone has made an allegation?” Mr Perry continued: “I am accused of all sorts of things every day, as is every member of the public who works in the public eye. But that doesn’t stop you from doing your job. It It is our duty and it is my duty.

Some Republicans also see the panel as an opportunity to raise culture-war issues and promote conspiracy theories. In his interview with Fox, Mr. Roy described the subcommittee’s mission as “the weaponization of the government, the FBI, the intelligence agencies, the DHS, everybody, you know, after Scott Smith has been labeled a domestic terrorist.”

In fact, no agency has called him a domestic terrorist. Mr. Smith, whose daughter was sexually assaulted in a Virginia high school bathroom, was arrested after he lunged at someone at a school board meeting during a tense and chaotic debate on bathroom policy for transgender students. He was convicted of disorderly conduct.

In September 2021, the National School Boards Association Sent a letter to Mr. Biden Pointing out a trend of violence and threats against school officials. It included a brief reference to the incident of Mr. Smith’s arrest among a long list of examples, with a footnote that a news account of the meeting in which the arrest was mentioned but without details such as the assault of his daughter. The letter also said violence and threats against school officials could be classified as “domestic terrorism and equivalent to a form of hate crimes” and asked for federal help.

A few days later, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released a memo Directing U.S. attorneys and the FBI to convene meetings nationwide with local officials to discuss “strategies to address threats” against school officials and teachers. His memo didn’t call anyone a domestic terrorist, and it notably separated spirited debate, insisting it was constitutionally protected, from acts of violence and threats.

But voices on the right have made Mr. Smith a cause célèbre, falsely telling his viewers and readers that the Biden-era Justice Department and the FBI consider parents who disagree with liberal school board policies , they are domestic terrorists.

The subcommittee investigation proposed by Mr. Jordan is one of the inquiries that House Republicans plan to approve this week.

Included in a separate rules package coming up for vote on Monday are broader investigations into the coronavirus pandemic, including the origins of the virus, so-called gain-of-function research, the production and conduct of vaccines. Mr. Biden’s former chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, whom Republicans have promised to bring before him for questioning.

Republicans also plan to form a special committee to investigate the Chinese government’s “economic, technological and security advances, and its competition with the United States.”

A vote on both the China investigation and the law enforcement investigation is scheduled for Tuesday.

Katie Edmondson Contributed reporting.

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