Newly-empowered House Republicans are preparing a wide-ranging investigation into law enforcement and national security agencies, raising the prospect of politically charged fights with the Biden administration over access to sensitive information like highly classified intelligence and the details of continuing criminal inquiries by the justice department.
The House plans to vote this week on a resolution to create a special judiciary subcommittee on what it calls the “weaponisation of the federal government”, a topic that Republicans have signalled could include reviewing investigations into former president Donald Trump.
The panel would be overseen by Republican Jim Jordan, Ohio, who is also poised to become the judiciary committee’s chair. It remains to be seen who else speaker Kevin McCarthy will put on it.
In a Fox News interview, Chip Roy of Texas, a lead negotiator for hard-right lawmakers who pushed McCarthy’s team for concessions, portrayed the panel as part of the agreement they struck for their support.
A spokesperson for Mr Jordan did not reply to a request for comment, but both he and Mr McCarthy have spoken for months about their desire for such an investigation and pledged to voters during the 2022 campaign to carry one out.
The text of the resolution establishing the subcommittee would give the panel essentially open-ended jurisdiction to scrutinise any issue related to civil liberties or to examine how any agency of the federal government has collected, analysed and used information about Americans – including “ongoing criminal investigations.”
The resolution appears to give Mr Jordan authority to subpoena the justice department for information about the special counsel inquiry into Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents, along with other politically charged matters like an open tax investigation into President Joe Biden’s son.
The text of the resolution would also grant Mr Jordan’s panel the power to receive the same highly classified information that intelligence agencies make available to their oversight committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Intelligence committee members have access to some of the most sensitive secrets in the government. Traditionally, House leaders tend to place on the intelligence panel members of their party they think are especially trustworthy not to disclose classified information.
While Mr Jordan’s investigative unit will be housed within the judiciary committee, its 13 members –— eight of whom would be Republicans – will not be limited to lawmakers on that committee. – New York Times
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