House Republicans add Attorney General Garland, FBI's Wray to payback probes agenda for next session following raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home
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GOP leaders tacked Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christoper Wray onto the burgeoning list of political foes they plan to investigate should they retake the majority this fall following Monday's politically explosive raid on Donald Trump's winter retreat.
The latest additions join others who've purportedly offended the twice-impeached former president, ranging from members of the January 6 select committee investigating the deadly siege at the US Capitol to current President Joe Biden.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tossed Garland into the mix for intruding on Trump's beloved Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an ongoing hunt for missing White House records.
"Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar," McCarthy wrote in a statement, adding that if Republicans succeed in flipping control of the chamber during the upcoming midterm elections they'd "conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned."
MAGA-aligned colleagues on both sides of the Capitol condemned Wray — and in some cases, the entire FBI — as well.
Republicans need to retake control of the Democrat-led House or the 50-50 Senate to claim the agenda-setting and subpoena-issuing powers required to fulfill any score-settling mission.
Here's who they've already said they plan to rake over the coals as soon as any congressional gavels switch hands. (The projected targets are listed in alphabetical order.)
January 6 committee members
The nine members of the bipartisan panel looking into what role Trumpworld played in the 2021 attack on Congress are all fair game as far as Trump and MAGA Republicans are concerned.
GOP leaders may have to summon back retiring Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois or Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who's facing a Trump-endorsed challenger this fall and has been ostracized by House GOP leaders for criticizing the former president, to punish them for participating in the politically embarrassing inquiry.
California Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell should expect to be grilled about alleged evidence tampering and having ties to a suspected Chinese spy, respectively. Either could be called to answer to House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, whom the select committee has subpoenaed to no avail, assuming he becomes chair of the committee next year.
When asked why Democrats should honor any GOP-led investigations after dodging requests to share what they know with the select committee, McCarthy told reporters that "we won't be illegitimate."
At least two of the panel's members — Kinzinger and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat — will be private citizens, potentially allowing Republicans to get around concerns about subpoenaing sitting lawmakers.
Republicans have spent years trying to use troubled political scion Hunter Biden as a cudgel against his father. From his business dealings with Ukraine to shocking extramarital affairs, Republicans see loads of dirty laundry to air ahead of Joe Biden's presumed re-election bid in 2024.
Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks on Monday wrote that "Jim Jordan led Judiciary Committee hearings in January can't come soon enough" when it comes to picking apart Hunter Biden. Meanwhile, House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James Comer has characterized Hunter Biden as a "national security risk" who's at the top of his to-do list.
GOP leaders psyched about training all their oversight weapons on Hunter Biden next year may regret turning on law enforcement today, former Republican Rep. Will Hurd warned those rushing to circle the wagons around Trump.
—Will Hurd (@WillHurd) August 9, 2022
"All the Trump-defending pearl-clutchers better be careful with the words you use about this because they'll be used against you IF the FBI and DOJ actually move on Hunter Biden," Hurd wrote online.
President Joe Biden
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has pushed to impeach Biden since the day after his inauguration.
—Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) August 9, 2022
Impeaching the president would be the ultimate prize for conservatives who felt that Trump's term was unfairly maligned by becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice.
For now, the push remains among the fringes of the party. But key Republicans have grown to talk about the prospect more openly, including Jordan, who would chair the panel historically responsible for authoring articles of impeachment.
Trump allies in the House insist that the US Capitol Police is at least partially to blame for the violence on January 6, 2021, alleging that the congressionally controlled force that battled crazed MAGA supporters for hours on end failed to properly assess the threat ahead of time. Leader McCarthy and Rep. Banks have both said police preparedness will be analyzed in the alternative GOP-led investigation into January 6 they're planning to release later this year.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Republicans have assailed the nation's top infectious disease expert for months. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly testified before Congress. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who hawks "Fire Fauci merch" on his campaign site and has made a habit of clashing with the doctor, is in line to chair the Senate's Health committee if the GOP retakes the majority.
Attorney General Merrick Garland
McCarthy isn't the only one after Garland's head.
Republican Rep. Rick Scott of Florida on Tuesday floated the idea of forcing Garland from office if the Biden appointee didn't publicly make his case for rifling through Trump's closely-held paperwork.
"When Republicans retake the majority in the Senate, there will be a thorough and aggressive investigation. Everything needs to be on the table for AG Garland, including impeachment if he doesn't come out today and explain what happened," Scott said in an official statement.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Banks and other House GOP leaders have been working to redirect the collective rage stirred up by the January 6 attack from Trump to Pelosi.
Banks is expected to lambast the 18-term Calfornia Democrat in the alternative findings House GOP leaders plan to use to hit back against the select committee's final report. Earlier this year House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis said he'd already requested that the select committee preserve all its records for potential use against Pelosi, but then he lost his primary challenge to Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois.
Pelosi isn't shrinking from the fight, portraying McCarthy's retaliatory threat against Garland as pure bluster.
"I think that whatever the Leader is saying is probably idle," Pelosi told NBC's Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday. She added that "no person is above the law … not even a former president of the United States."
FBI director Christopher Wray
The Mar-a-Lago raid has also led Republicans to turn against FBI Director Christopher Wray, Trump's pick to replace Jim Comey. Wray was confirmed by a 92 to 5 vote with only Senate Democrats dissenting from his once broad, bipartisan support.
Likely 2024 presidential contender Sen. Josh Hawley rallied to Trump's side Tuesday by calling for Wray's ouster.
"Christoper Wray must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom," the Missouri Republican wrote online.
Rep. Paul Gosar took things even further.
"We must destroy the FBI," the Arizona Republican tweeted out in support of Trump.
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