The US House of Representatives Tuesday adopted a GOP-backed resolution in a party-line vote of 221-211 establishing a select committee to probe perceived misconduct by federal law enforcement agencies under the Biden administration. The GOP claims this committee was formed in response to federal agencies illegally investigating and censoring American citizens.
The “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government” will operate under the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. It will consist of 13 members including five Democratic members “appointed in consultation” with Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
The resolution gives the committee broad powers to investigate the “expansive role of Article II authority” vested in federal agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate citizens, including those subject to “ongoing criminal investigations.” The committee also has the power to subpoena witnesses connected with its probe under Rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
Notably, clause 1(c)(1)(C) gives the committee the power to access sensitive information shared by the intelligence community with Congress. It reads:
With regard to the full scope of investigative authority…the select subcommittee shall be authorized to receive information available to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, consistent with congressional reporting requirements for intelligence and intelligence-related activities.
The oversight panel was a consistent demand by far-right House Freedom Caucus members loyal to Trump in the wake of the investigation by the committee on the January 6 Capitol riot. This demand came to fruition after concessions by the newly elected Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy to break the prolonged resistance to his election by Trumpist GOP members.
Jordan, who will chair the committee, said in an interview that he intends to investigate alleged misconduct by the Federal Government in handling social media disinformation. In an interview with Fox News, GOP Representative Chip Roy of Texas declared that the committee has powers to go after the “recalcitrant” Biden administration.
Democratic Representative and member of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said that the committee was an attempt to “inject extremist politics” into the justice system and shield Trump supporters from the “legal consequences of their actions.” Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island drew a parallel between this panel and the erstwhile House Un-American Activities Committee.