ORLANDO, Florida — House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) laid out in a lengthy exclusive interview with Breitbart News at the House GOP conference retreat last month the process by which Republicans intend to zone in on leftist weaponization of the government against conservatives.
First, Jordan said, his full committee—and its Select Subcommittee on Weaponization—will use its oversight tools to “get the facts on the table.”
Then, he said House Republicans will propose legislative solutions to stop the government from being able to continue these actions—and he urged Republicans to use the appropriations process to cut off cash to out-of-control leftists targeting conservatives with government power:
So, get all those facts on the table. Then propose legislation—we’re a legislative body. That’s constitutionally what we’re supposed to do. Here are some pieces of legislation, proposals that we think fix that idea of where agencies are being turned on people they’re supposed to serve. Then, maybe most importantly is use the appropriations process and say something like ‘no money at DHS can be used in a way to create some Disinformation Governance Board’ and ‘we should not be having American tax dollars go to individuals who are focused in these federal agencies to anyone who is focused on labeling speech misinformation, disinformation, malinformation—we shouldn’t be paying them.’ There are things we can do in the appropriations process that I think might be where we have the most ability to be able to rein this in. So, it’s facts so you can build the case for legislation then you can build the case for using the appropriations process to limit money going to these actions that are harmful.
Jordan’s charge expanded significantly in recent weeks when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg proceeded with criminal charges against former President Donald Trump. Jordan’s committee, along with the House Oversight Committee and House Administration Committee, is the tip of the spear of a three-pronged probe into Bragg’s conduct and use of federal dollars.
This interview with Jordan came on the day he sent his first inquiry—along with the chairmen of the other two committees—Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Bryan Steil (R-WI), respectively—focused on that effort but, more broadly, House GOP efforts to rein in an increasingly unruly leftist use of government to target conservatives.
The three major focuses of the Weaponization Committee, Jordan said, are first on attacks on the First Amendment and freedom of speech, second on the FBI broadly, and third a “broader category” of what he described as the government being used by Democrats and leftists to target their political opponents:
There are three sort of, in my mind and in our committee members’ minds both the full committee and the select committee, [categories of weaponization topics being investigated]. The first is the First Amendment. This is the Twitter Files; it’s the DHS Disinformation Governance Board; it’s the attacks on the freedom of the press and freedom of speech—this connection between big government, Big Tech, NGOs all working together to suppress information and suppress speech and visibility filtering.
Jordan’s committee has already held public hearings on findings discovered through the Twitter Files disclosures of internal company documents from its new CEO Elon Musk, and Jordan says there is more coming on this front:
We got a lot with Twitter files. We’re going to continue to get information from the agencies we think were involved and working with Big Tech to suppress First Amendment and free speech rights. We have what whistleblowers have told us relative to the Department of Justice and specifically the FBI. We know in the Richmond field office, for instance, they were saying if you are a traditional Catholic you are an extremist. We know what they did to parents. We know the double standard with pro-lifers where if pro-lifers talked about that issue if you’re pro-life how after the Dobbs decision they were actually looking at pro-lifers and people were like that doesn’t make any sense.
Jordan highlighted the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) as one governmental pass-through for federal funding to make it to radical leftist organizations.
“The GEC is giving money to these NGOs and not-for-profit groups,” Jordan said. “That is a huge area: the free speech area, and we had a great hearing on that a week or two ago.”
Secondly, beyond the government’s efforts to fund leftists seeking to censor speech, a massive focus of the GOP weaponization investigations is the FBI broadly in and of itself as an agency.
“The second area is the FBI, because we’ve had so many whistleblowers come talk to us about the double standard and talk to us about this push to label everything domestic violent extremism,” Jordan said. “The first whistleblower came to us and talked to us about the threat label put on parents during the whole school board issue.”
Jordan said that “dozens” of whistleblowers have come to the House Republicans from inside the FBI and across the government, and several of them have panned out in a significant way:
We’ve had dozens come forward. We’ve had around 20 we really kind of talked to, that the staff has talked to, and we have had three or four come in for a transcribed interview. Democrats leaked the information, and it turns out the stuff they leaked was selective stuff and a couple publications had to change their stories because they leaked them false information particularly about Steve Friend and what the Inspector General was or wasn’t doing—they had it wrong. Those have been good. We may look to have them—a lot of times a whistleblower, it’s obviously up to them. They were willing to sit for a transcribed interview. They were willing to go public. As for whether they will be willing to come in for a public hearing, they may be up for that and we may do that at some point too.
Thirdly, Jordan said, the GOP investigations are zoning in on efforts by the Democrats to use government to target political opponents—like the Pentagon’s leak of Air Force records of GOP congressional candidates or the Bragg investigation into Trump. Jordan praised the work of Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), a former Air Force pilot, on investigating the politically toxic leaks of Air Force service records of Republicans from the Biden administration’s Department of Defense:
So, First Amendment is sort of broad in all these agencies. The second is the double standard that the whistleblowers have told us about at the Justice Department. Then the third is a kind of a catch-all, where we did a kind of a thing in our committee—Mr. Stewart, for instance, is very concerned about the branches of our military giving opposition research to the Democrat group doing opposition research work on candidates. So, that sort of broader category of things that is miscellaneous but also could be government targeting people for their political beliefs. Frankly, that’s what I believe is happening here with President Trump as well and that’s why we sent the letter.
On the Trump-versus-Bragg front, in particular, Jordan explained that there are several reasons why he views this as a pertinent focus for the weaponization investigations:
First I go back to, they try to get President Trump on Russia collusion—baloney. Then it was a phone call with President Zelensky. Then it was his tax records. Then it was his business. Then it was his kids. Now it’s some alleged bookkeeping mistake from seven years ago by a prosecutor who is now in a jurisdiction where crime is through the roof and he downgrades most felonies to misdemeanors. On the felonies he does take to court, over half of them are—he loses half those cases. He’s now going after a former president and candidate for president and who’s his star witness? Michael Cohen, a known liar. So there’s all this fact pattern, but just what I set out there—the DOJ didn’t pursue it. The federal district in New York didn’t pursue it. The previous prosecutor didn’t pursue it. This prosecutor, Mr. Bragg, wasn’t going to pursue it until President Trump announces. So we’ve asked a simple question: Give us a time to come to talk to us. Let us know by Thursday when you can come talk to us. We want to do a transcribed interview. We want to know what kind of interaction you may or may not have had with DOJ. How were the funds used? Then, the other thing is, does this stem out from the Special Counsel investigation, which it sure looks like, because Mueller was the first one to kind of go down this road and go after Michael Cohen. So, that’s a concern to us too as far as a legislative body and what kind of changes we might need to make to the Special Counsel statute. So that’s why we’re involved, but it looks like the one thing that has changed is none of this was going to happen until President Trump announced he was going to run.
Jordan was circumspect when asked if he envisions subpoenas or public hearings for Bragg himself.
“I don’t know,” Jordan said. “I always hate to get ahead of it. But we’re committed to getting the answers to the questions we laid out in the letter, Mr. Comer, Mr. Steil, and myself—and the Republican conference—so how that plays out, we’ll see. Maybe he comes to talk to us; maybe he tells us no. We’ll see.”
Since then, Bragg has formally refused to cooperate with the GOP investigation—and Jordan has issued his first subpoena of a former official who left Bragg’s office earlier this year. Jordan has also zoned in on another Bragg subordinate, a former U.S. Department of Justice official who joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s office as this investigation intensified.
Jordan said House investigators are looking, in particular, into the use of federal funds by Bragg in his push against Trump and also “the connection to the Special Counsel” at the Department of Justice.
Last week, Trump called for House Republicans to “defund” the FBI and DOJ until they stop engaging in such weaponization, something some Republicans bristled at. But Jordan, asked during this interview in mid-March in Orlando if he envisions the FBI budget being cut and other cuts to the appropriations of efforts by leftists to weaponize government using tax dollars, said he thinks it is something that Republicans need to consider:
I think we have to look across the board as a conference—not just on this stuff, but across the board as a conference—at things we are funding that make no sense. Where they infringe on First Amendment liberties, we certainly have to push to get that kind of limit on tax dollars being spent for those activities. I think of DHS. I think of the GEC at the State Department and all the people they were funding. When I read through all the Twitter Files, those really sort of stand out. But there are also some other things—money goes from agency to think tank or some university not-for-profit, and then they are financing these groups of former government officials who were creating the ‘misinformation index’ or ‘dashboard’ or whatever they call these things. Then that’s being used to suppress speech. It jumped a few things, but that’s Americans’ tax dollars being used to make this happen so we really got to look at that.
Jordan added that while he expects a fight from the White House and from Senate Democrats on this front, House Republicans conference-wide need to fight to use the appropriations process to rein in leftist weaponization of government—whether through specific government contracts or agency funding or however they are using tax dollars to do it:
We’re looking at that for across the government. If you’re engaged in this kind of activity, it’s just wrong and that’s our job. Now, will the Senate fight us? Will the White House fight us? Yeah, but that’s our job. We should do that, and we’re beginning to develop a list—working with some good folks—across agencies, not just limited to our committee and select committee stuff where across government we have to try to do this stuff. Frankly, some of this is because of our $30 trillion debt. We should have done this a long time ago. One of these, which should be a no-brainer, is we should say no taxpayer money should be going to gain-of-function research. It’s just—what are we doing? That, to me, is just so easy; it’s not directly on point of what we’re talking about here, but we now know almost beyond a doubt that it was our money going to a lab in China that wasn’t up to code that was doing gain-of-function research and that’s where the virus started. We almost know that for sure. We certainly know the first part of that for sure. The last part is up for debate, but I feel pretty confident it came from the lab—I’ve been saying that for a while. So why on earth were we doing gain-of-function research with American taxpayer dollars in China? So there’s got to be some kind of limit; we ought to say no money can do that. That’s a rider that should be in the, I guess it would be the HHS appropriations bill.