New U.S. House Arms Commission Investigates FBI, IRS, ATF
WASHINGTON — US House Democrats on Thursday called on GOP lawmakers, who chair the federal government’s new Arms Select Subcommittee, to work with them on genuine investigations that weren’t political or focused on resolving grievances.
Maryland Democratic Representative Jamie Ruskin said during the commission’s first hearing that the subcommittee “could conceivably be part of a proud history of serious bipartisan oversight, stretching from the Teapot Dome investigation to the Boeing investigation, to the Watergate hearings, to the tobacco hearings, to the select committee.” about the January 6th attack.
“Or it could lead to oversight in a very dark alley filled with conspiracy theories and disinformation – where facts are the enemy and the destruction of the guerrillas is the main goal,” Raskin added.
Ohio Republican Chairman Jim Jordan shared some details about where exactly the group will focus its efforts during the 118th Congress.
But he mentioned the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Internal Revenue Service as federal agencies likely to come under the commission’s microscope.
He also said the committee would eventually issue a bill to address their concerns.
“In the course of our work on this committee, we expect to hear from government officials and experts, like here today,” Jordan said.
“We expect to hear from Americans who have been targeted by their government, we expect to hear from people in the media, and we expect to hear from FBI agents who acted as informants,” Jordan added. “We think that many of them will be giving transcripts of interviews, as they did on Tuesday, and we believe that some of them will testify at open hearings.”
Grassley and Johnson testify
The first group to testify before the subcommittee included Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, Ruskin, and former Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Grassley and Johnson both spoke about their investigations into the finances and business dealings of Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, and how the Justice Department handled Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“It is clear to me that the Department of Justice and the FBI are suffering from a political contagion that, if left unchecked, will result in the American people no longer trusting these legendary institutions,” Grassley said. “It will also threaten the American way of life.”
Grassley chided Democratic lawmakers for openly questioning his previous investigations and federal investigators for their actions over the past few years, citing former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, among others.
He then committed to working with a US House of Representatives committee to help members investigate further.
“Your committee has the opportunity to help us write the final chapter in this real-life drama,” Grassley said. “You must tirelessly seek facts and evidence.”
Johnson referred to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 1 million Americans, questioning the motives behind the economic shutdown and the federal research that led to the vaccine that was underway during the Trump administration.
He has argued that the World Health Organization has been “taken over” by the Chinese government, that global institutions have been “taken over” by the left, and that some charities have more power over government policy than should be allowed.
“I have barely touched the surface in describing the complexity, power and destructive nature of the forces we face,” Johnson said.
Johnson called on whistleblowers from across the federal government to share information with the commission.
“Our founders fully understood that government was necessary to avoid anarchy. But they also knew that state power was to be feared,” he said. “That’s why they developed a set of checks and balances to limit the government’s power and influence over our lives.”
Following on from his Republican colleagues’ claims of the federal government being “armed” by Democrats, Raskin of Maryland read out a list of actions taken by the Trump administration that he claimed were prime examples of “arming” the Justice Department.
Raskin insisted that the group work in a bipartisan fashion, arguing that “oversight should be organized around a comprehensive search for truth…not around revenge.”
“It’s one thing to engage in systematic oversight based on a commitment to facts and truth,” Raskin added. “And something radically different to set the stage for a series of guerrilla attacks that are just vindictive and debt-driven and designed to set up a presidential campaign in 2024.”
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