House Republicans are gearing up to investigate the Department of Justice and the FBI, including their “ongoing criminal investigations,” setting up a showdown with the Biden administration and law enforcement agencies over their criminal probes, particularly those into former President Donald Trump.
The new House GOP majority has proposed that a new select subcommittee be formed – a result of one of the key concessions House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made to his opposition to secure the gavel.
In addition to having the power to investigate all ongoing criminal probes of the executive branch, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government would also “be authorized to receive information available to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” giving it access to the most highly classified information in Congress, according to the proposal.
An earlier draft of the select subcommittee proposal gave it less power and was much narrower in scope: It would have only been able to focus on the FBI, DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security, and made no mention of getting access to ongoing criminal investigations.
Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, an early holdout against McCarthy who became a key negotiator for the hard-liners, said on Fox News that changes made to the select subcommittee proposal, particularly seeking a budget as big as the January 6 select committee, was key to getting those initially opposed to McCarthy on board.
“So we got more resources, more specificity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration,” Roy said Friday. “That’s really important.”
The select subcommittee would be under the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee, which is partly why Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the committee’s incoming chairman, was crucial to the negotiations last week that led to the proposal. As Judiciary chair, Jordan would oversee the subpoenas of the select panel. By contrast, the House select committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol made subpoena decisions unilaterally. Jordan has foreshadowed that he will make investigating assertions that the FBI and DOJ have been politicized a key focus of the House Judiciary Committee as chairman.
“We’re going to get into what’s going on at the FBI,” Jordan said Sunday on Fox.
If the proposal passes, McCarthy would be able to select 13 lawmakers to serve on the subcommittee, five of whom would be chosen in consultation with House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries. McCarthy would also pick the subcommittee chair. This was similar to the setup of the January 6 select committee, for which then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave then-Minority Leader McCarthy five spots to fill. But when Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s picks, the California Republican pulled all his members from serving on the panel.
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky said Friday on Fox, “It looks like I will probably be on that committee but I can’t say that I will run it.”
Another Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, who is being investigated by federal prosecutors for his role in trying to impede the transfer of presidential power in 2020, would not rule out serving on the select panel.
“Why should I be limited? Why should anybody be limited just because someone has made an accusation?” Perry, who chairs the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus, said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “Everybody in America is innocent until proven otherwise.”
The proposal for the subcommittee panel is included in the House rules package, which establishes the rules and committees for the 118th Congress, and is set to receive a vote on Monday.
The select subcommittee would be required to issue a final report by January 2, 2025, and dissolve shortly after.