Special Counsel John Durham defends the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) amid Republican efforts to defund or limit funding for these agencies due to alleged “weaponization.”
Durham recently testified before Congress about his report on the investigation into Donald Trump and his presidential campaign prior to the 2016 election.
In his report, Durham concluded that the investigation was poorly founded and should not have proceeded as it did.
However, some Republicans were dissatisfied with the report, as it offered few reform proposals that hadn’t already been implemented by the FBI under Director Christopher Wray.
During his testimony, Durham dismissed the Republican push to defund the agencies as misguided.
When asked if he believed the Department of Justice should be defunded, Durham replied, “I don’t believe these discussions about defunding the police make any sense at all for the security of the nation and I don’t think defunding Cornerstone law enforcement entities makes a whole lot of sense. Maybe more oversight, but defunding our cities and streets and so forth—no, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
“But I’ve only been at this for 40 years,” he joked.
Pressed further on the issue, Durham stated, “I don’t believe the Department of Justice or the FBI should be defunded. I think there maybe ought to be some changes and the like, but defunded, no.”
Durham’s comments come as many House Republicans, frustrated with perceived abuses of power, have proposed limiting or cutting funding for the DOJ and FBI.
They point to alleged abuses of power by these agencies, as revealed by whistleblower reports.
In a recent whistleblower report, Republicans exposed allegations that the FBI had become “enveloped in politicization,” echoing earlier reports that FBI leadership was “rotted at its core.”
Republican concerns with DOJ and FBI authorities intensified after Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memo offering federal assistance to prosecute parents who spoke out against controversial ideas being taught to their children at school board meetings. This raised concerns about First Amendment rights.
Some parents who spoke out at these meetings found themselves placed on flight watchlists without warning or explanation.
Other whistleblower allegations claim that the FBI targeted pro-life individuals and organizations and labeled traditional Catholic communities as “harbors for white supremacism.”
In 2021, a public audit revealed that the FBI had abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by collecting personal information on over 3.3 million American citizens.
Despite reforms, subsequent investigations found that over 278,000 Americans were illegally targeted under FISA authority, including nearly 20,000 campaign donors.
These allegations are the basis for an ongoing investigation into the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Calls to Cut, Defund Agencies
In light of these allegations, some Republicans have joined calls to cut or defund these agencies as a means of forcing reforms.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been particularly vocal about using the power of the purse to hold the DOJ accountable.
Rep. Matt Gaetz has also expressed support for defunding and dismantling the DOJ if it does not align with congressional expectations.
These calls reflect a growing sentiment among Republicans that significant changes are needed within these agencies.
These calls for change reflect a growing concern among Republicans that the DOJ and FBI have overstepped their bounds and require significant reform.
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