WASHINGTON — Since last year, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has spoken out about the dozens of FBI agents who allegedly came to the House of Republicans complaining of an epic betrayal by their leaders on behalf of the revivalist establishment.
Now Jordan chairs a new subcommittee created specifically to showcase these grievances, but it’s not clear they will live up to the hype.
In an effort to undermine Jordan, Democrats on the “Government Weapons” subcommittee have released their abstracts and partial transcripts of the committee’s first interviews with three former FBI agents, and the material is embarrassing.
Two of the three agents have embraced a discredited conspiracy theory that the FBI instigated the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. Two of the three recently received cash payments and other aid from a Donald Trump loyalist who worked for the Trump administration. One of them wouldn’t even explain what he did to get suspended by the FBI.
And according to Democrats — who released the material because they claimed Republicans were leaking it first — none of the alleged whistleblowers meet the legal definition of a whistleblower.
“These individuals, who have advanced a wide range of conspiracy theories, have not filed actual evidence of any wrongdoing with the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Representatives Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.) and Stacy Plaskett (DV .I.), the top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee and its subcommittee on armament, wrote in their 315 page report.
Jordan’s rep said it is “besides the disappointing, but sadly not surprising, fact that Democrats leaked handpicked testimony excerpts to attack the brave whistleblowers who risked their careers to report abuses to the Justice Department and the FBI.”
One of the FBI agents who sat down for a closed-door interview with the committee last month is Stephen Friend, who previously told his story to Senate Republicans. According to Friend’s version of events, he was suspended after him he simply refused to work on any case related to the Capitol riot.
A friend thought that some of the people who stormed the Capitol were not guilty and would not get a fair trial in Washington. He also took issue with how the FBI’s field office in Washington assigned the Jan. 6 cases to regional offices and said the FBI improperly deployed tactical teams against the rioters.
But according to the partial transcript of his committee interview, Friend essentially admitted last month that the SWAT raids were warranted against the potentially armed suspects in question.
“People you expressed concern about [a SWAT raid last year]Were you aware of any factors that might advise in favor of a SWAT team?” the committee asked.
“I think being a gun owner satisfies that matrix, and those people were,” Friend said.
The Democrats’ report also reveals that Friend’s complaint about the assignment of cases had been investigated by the Justice Department’s inspector general and his Office of the General Counsel, and both found it baseless.
The document highlights the fact that Friend and George Hill, another FBI agent who spoke to the committee, have suggested in public statements that a man named Ray Epps helped instigate the attack on the Capitol as an FBI agent. undercover.
“Happy anniversary Ray Epps, from your friends in The Deep State,” Hill wrote in a Jan. 6, 2023 tweet that has since been deleted. “Job well done!”
The theory is based almost entirely on snippets of video showing Epps talking about walking into the Capitol and saying something to a man who then fought off the police. For starters, that’s minimal evidence of an extraordinary claim, but Epps, a roofing contractor and Trump supporter in Arizona, repeatedly told investigators last yearunder penalty of perjury, that he was not acting as an informant for the FBI or under the direction of any law enforcement agency.
Democrats said another suspended FBI agent, Garrett O’Boyle, would not tell them why he was suspended, except to say that his suspension notice stated that “an unidentified person … made a ‘accuses that [he] had made unprotected disclosures to the media.” However, the Democrats’ report said O’Boyle shared more than 50 documents with Republicans on the committee.
Since being suspended and sharing their stories with Republicans, both O’Boyle and Friend told the committee they’ve received cash payments from Kash Patel, a former Trump administration official who now operates as a Republican fundraiser. . Friend said Patel also put him in touch with a new job at the Center for Renewing America, a nonprofit led by former Trump budget director Russell Vought.
Democrats wrote that “there’s a strong likelihood that Kash Patel is encouraging witnesses to continue pursuing their baseless claims, and in fact using them to help push his revenge against the FBI, the Justice Department and the Biden administration on his behalf and President Trump.”
In a series of public messages on Twitter on Friday, Friend appears to have welcomed consideration of his case.
“The best thing the FBI, House Democrats, the DOJ Inspector General, the DOJ Special Counsel and the American media can do is investigate the veracity of my statement,” he wrote.
HuffPost asked Friend if the Justice Department’s inspector general and special counsel hadn’t already investigated his claims, but he didn’t respond.