tv Members of Congress Testify on Oversight of Justice Department FBI CSPAN February 9, 2023 8:01pm-9:18pm EST
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students from low-income famines and get the tools they need to be ready for anything. comcast support c-span a a public service along with these other television providers. givingou a front row seat to democracy. the justice department and fbi. deputy secretary of state wendy sherman testifies that u.s. policy toward china and the senate foreign relations committee hearing. later jamaal on legislative efforts to preserve black history. >> in our hearing on oversight of the justice department and the fbi held by of that weaponization of the federal government witnesses alleged federal institutions interfere with their investigations. consider formation last month.
[background noises] [background noises] subcommittee will come to room with out objection declared to recess at any time welcome to everyone this first during the select subcommittee chair recognizes theom gentleman from florida mr. gates to lease the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of
america. to the republic for which it stands "one nation" under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. the chart now it recognizes himself her opening statement. november 18, 2021 fbi whistleblower discloses to republicans on the house judiciary that the fbi create a threat tag for parents voicing their concerns at school board meetings. april 26, 2022 another fbi whistleblower discloses the fbi employees are being run out of the bureau for attending conservative political events. may 11, 2022 another fbi whistleblower discloses dozens of parents with the threat tag designation to their name are investigated by the fbi. this also happens too be the sae whistleblower who said the fbi leadership the rank and file
members but the fbi leadership is rotted at its corporate's clearance has wh been revoked and he has been suspended. june 7, 2022 another fbi whistleblower is retaliated against after getting feedback on an anonymous the survey. july 27, 2022 another fbi whistleblower discloses agents are pressured to reclassify cases is domestic7t violence extremism to hit self-created performance metrics. september 14, 2022, fbi whistleblower discloses fbi is the betsy ross flag as a terrorist assemble. september 19, 2022 another fbi whistleblower discloses the washington field office is deliberately manipulated generally six case files to make it appear domesticc violence extremism is on the rise. he has been suspended.
november 8 excuse me november 4, 2022 another fbi whistleblower discloses the fbi accepts private user information from facebook without the user's consent and22 information is frm only the conservative side of the political spectrum. this is only a sampling fit in my time in congress i have never seen anything like this. dozens and dozens of whistleblowers fbi agents coming to us talking about what is going on in the political nature of the justice department. not jim jordan saying this not republicans, not conservatives, good and brave fbi agents were willing to come forward and give us the truth. and this is just the fbi americans have concerns about the double standard at the department of justice. americans have concerns about the disinformation governance board the department of homeland security tried to form. americans have concerns about the atf and what they're doing to the second amendment. and of course they have concerns about the irs and the thousands
of new agents were coming to that organization. and finally, their concerns about we learned of the twitter files were big government and big tech colluded to shape andga ymold the narrative and tos. suppress information and sensor americans. over the course of our work in this committee we expect to hear from government officials and experts like we have here today. we expect to hear from americans have been targeted by their government. expecting from people in the media. i'll be expecting from the fbi agents who have come forward as whistleblowers but we think many of them will sit for transcribed interviews is wanted on tuesday. we believe several of them will come and testify in open hearings. and finally, we expect to bring forward legislation that will help protect the american people. we help our democratic colleagues will work with us. the day of the crane the committee was debated and passed mr. jeffries, mr. nadler, the
democrats would quote finest tooth and nail. we hope that attitude changes partly want tona work with them, protecting first amendment should not be partisan for protecting me constitution should not be partisan protecting the fundamental principle of equal treatment under law should not be partisan. with that i yield to the ranking member for her opening statement. >> thank you chairman jordan. nobody disputes the important role of congressionaler oversig. i know firsthand how important it is to ask questions and demand answers of the federal government. in the ordinary course of business that work informs the legislative process extraordinary times when misconduct in the executive branch threatens to undermine our democratic institutions, congressional oversight can serve to protect the integrity of our republic. for example i'm proud of the rule i plan as an impeachment
manager in the second impeachment of president donald trump in the aftermath of the attack on the capitol. that bipartisan work was both a measure of accountability and assigned to the american people that congress had no intention of being bullied into giving up on a peaceful transfer of power. but there is a difference. mike college between legitimate oversight and weaponization of congress and our processes. particularly our committee work asas a political tool. i am deeply concerned of the use of the select subcommittee as a place to settle scores, showcase conspiracy theories in advance an extreme agenda that risk undermining americans faith in our democracy. some of today's witnesses would have us believe the department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation are part of a deep state cobalt one even wrote a book describing fbi
itself as a threat to democracy. the department of justice and the fbi do not always get it right. history is full of examples of these agencies getting it very, very wrong. we have colleagues in this congress who have been subject to politically motivated, hateful, racist investigations by our governments. that does not logically follow every investigation of criminal inquiry by the fbi or department of justice is a political or ideologically based spirit but in our current climate with domestic terrorism on the rise and hate speech normalized by nationalal politicians, the department of justice and the fbi are doing their best tome protect us sliding into chaos. this past monday the fbi captured two individuals, one a neo-nazi leader and founder of a group who were plotting a racially motivated attack on
baltimore's power grid they said their goal was to quote completely destroy this whole city". last week the fbi infiltrated and disrupted a major cyber criminal group extorting schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure around the world. and last summer the fbi engaged in a mass violent crime enforcementar effort that took nearly 6000 violent criminals off of our american streets but let'src not forget the tremendos work of the fbi and the department of justice after the attacks on her home on 11, 2001. some of my republican colleagues love to talk about the threat of violent crime they appear oblivious to the fact the dangerous rhetoric and baseless accusations against the justice department and fbi itself at times pose a direct threat to those organizations ability to do the work they are doing to
protect our communities. recent attempts have highlighted a shocking increase in threats of violence against law enforcement agencies. anyy significant uptick after te fbi executed a search warrant at president o trump's property at mar-a-lago. the federal law enforcement officers association hasn't been a mentally denounce what described as quote politically motivated threats that are unprecedented in recent history and absolutely unacceptable". unfortunately examples of these threats are not hard to find. lesser sum and threaten to plant a dirty bomb outside the fbi headquarters for another attempt to storm the cincinnati fbi field office lowering body armor and carrying an ar type of rifle. the third was arrested after he made a credible threat stating quote every single police who works for the fbi in any capacity from the director on
down to the janitor who cleans their expletive toilets deserves to.you have declared war on us and now it is open season on you. ". these allegations are deeply troubling and i hope the chairman and members of the subcommittee will be mindful of the risks that go hand in hand with heated rhetoric. a rush to accusation and subpoenas without a factual basis and without any effort toh engage with agencies through the accommodation process flies in the face of due process and demeans congressional oversight process. it makes a mockery of our institution. as a former prosecutor i'm even more trouble by the subjection the subcommittee may attempt to investigate ongoing criminal investigation. as the head of the reagan justice department office of legal counsel wrote years ago, granting congress access to
information active criminal investigations will in effect make congress a partner in the investigation. creating a quote substantial danger congressional pressures will influence the course of the investigation. and potentially quote hamper prosecutorial decision making in future cases. this would not only damage law enforcement efforts, it would shake the public's confidence in the criminal justice system. i hope not but i suspect much of the investigations the majority, my republican colleagues want to look into potentially mock up involved criminal investigations into former president donald trump. i want to be crystal clear, my democratic colleagues and i will resist any attempt by the subcommittee to derail ongoing legitimate investigations into president trump, any other president and others within his
orbit. during the course of the subcommittee work i suspect we will hear both members and witnesses described the events of generate six, 2021 in ways that simply do not mesh withar reality. when this happens i would encourage everyone washing to review the impeachment record and report of the generate six select committee which lays out the true facts and shocking detail originally sent a letter to the chairman noting that despite our policy and political differences i am hopeful there may be matters of investigation within the stated mandate of the subcommittee under which we may collaborate. i meant this. i mean this. and i still hope we can find common ground explored in a bipartisan manner that respects the due process rights and interests of all involved. the chair and his colleagues continually use the moniker of protecting free speech. that sounds good, i hope they
all recognize there is speech that is not constitutionally protected. racist, hate, incitement togn violence. i also hope and if the protection of truth speaks for the speech extends to all americans, we will see. i hope that we can use this subcommittee to conduct legitimate oversight to help advance policies to address the real challenges that americans face every day rather than undermine every agent, officer and prosecutor on the job. government abuses of power do not solely rests with the executive branch. it can and we have seen it come from the legislative branch as well. on our present course however this exercise seems little more than a political stunt designed to inject extremist politics into the legislative oversight function and the justice system.
the american people deserve better than that. thank you mr. turner yelled back to greg sankey ranking member all other opening statements will be included in the record but will choose her first panel 10 chuck grassley's arm and i when the nights at senate since or1989 currently ranking memberf the seneca man but his former chairman ranking of the committee on the judiciary and the committee on finance welcome center grassley presenter ron johnson has represent the state of wisconsin and the nye state senate 2011. he has servediahe as a chairmanf the senate homeland security and government affairs committee. we welcome center jon summit ribs and jamie raskin has her present at maryland's eighth congressional district since 2017 currently serves as ranking mayor and the committee of oversight and accountability. we have with this former member kelsey gabbard who represent hawaii's second congressional district for eight years in house of representatives for nearly 20 years she has served our country and hawaii army national guard u.s. army reserve including deployments in iraq
and kuwait. we think all beefier service but log senate committee practice is to not ask questions of our colleagues and former colleagues that appear before us in light ofof that practice our first pal will have 10 minutes to deliver their testimony again we thank you for being here and senator from iowa was recognized for 10 minutes because thank you chairman jordan and ranking member for this opportunity to appear pretty thank you for inviting me too come here. what i am about to tell you sounds like it is out of some fiction spy thriller. but it actually happened and it happened in our own government. congressional oversight for constitutional demands that we dedicate our careers to it. i have at least three during the course of my service i bring callous investigations. the partisan media and some of
my democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressionala, inquiries. it is because of a triad and outrightgi falsehoods look at crossfire hurricane bit by bit, piece-by-piece it has been deconstructed and shown to be politically motivated investigation, which it was. we all know now that it was a democratic national committee along with the clinton campaign who colluded with the russians that used a former russian spy ps and law firm to create a fake dossier andia then tried to covr it up. now, the most recent example of this triad at work, our efforts against my and senator johnson's
ongoing biden family investigation. that investigation started on august 14, 2019 when i was chairman of the senate financen committee with a letter that i wrote to the treasury department. my letter was out about a questionable financial transaction subject to the committee on foreign investment that related to a matter involving the biden family. as our s investigation continued and advance, democratic leadership and partisan media began their attack on our investigation. this is where that spy thriller starts to heat up. the sender warner then speaker pelosi and then chairman shift sent a letter with a classified
attachment to the fbi. that letter expressed a reported belief of a foreign disinformation the letter was targeted with the johnson grassley investigation. however the classified attachment included unclassified element that attempteded and failed to tie our work to a russian agent. unsurprisingly those unclassified elements were leaked to the press to support a false campaign accusing senator johnson and me of relying on material from a russian agent and thus advancing russian disinformation. it was pure nonsense the
irresponsible media they have us all as the truth. guess what then, chairman shift claimed without any evidence whatsoever that our oversight work was rooted in russian disinformation. of course you know he conveniently left out that our oversight work was rooted in official u.s. government and obama administration records. then, guess what? senator blumenthal also wrote an op-ed in the "washington post" accusing our investigation of hope. russian disinformation in the u.s. senate on then guess what, majority schumer and ranking member whited tried to offer a resolution in the senate disparaging our biden investigation.
they, in a sense were basically calling us russian stooges. pretty simple that violated senate rules in their efforts and of course were appropriately shut down. on july the 16, 2020 after the july 13 member then ranking member members to widen and peters wrote a letter to me and senator johnson asking for a briefing from the fbi foreign influence task force. our staff in the ranking member's staff had already, remember we had already received a briefing march of 2020 that put the issue to rest. so why another briefing? the points being there was no real purpose for another briefing. let alone a member level
briefing other than to further undermine our investigation. some of our democratic colleagues were not interested in anything but using them briefing to try and destroy our investigation. but, at these democrats insistence the fbi caved in august 2020 senator johnson and i had that infamous briefing from the fbi that was needless. and then, as we had fear the contents of that briefing were leaked to the "washington post" even though the fbi had promised usth confidentiality. without leak outrageously and accurately connected that fbi briefing to our investigation and another effort to falsely label our good government
oversight work as russian disinformation the wall street journal editorial board was on top of it because that board did the right thing and wrote a piece about the briefing titled quote the fbi's dubious briefing. otdid the bureau set up two gop senators at the behest of democrats? end of quote. simply put the briefing was unnecessary and completely irrelevant to the substance of our investigation. it was only done because the democrats wanted to do so and contrite and smear us. and the fbi wrongly did their biddingo. to this very day director ray refuses to provide senator johnson and me as constitutional officers records relating toct that briefing.
including the alleged intelligence basis for it. director ray has consistently failed to perform duties required of his position. now, another example of this democratic disinformation campaign involves a george can't former state department deputy assistant general. senator johnson and iran a transcribed interview with george kent. before the interview democrats acquired material from that russian agent the same one i mentioned earlier. at the interview democrats, not republicans and democrats asked mr. kent about the same material. mr. kent said it was disinformation. now think about that. after all this spears the democrats were throwing out the two of us, and the end it was
the democrats who introduced russian disinformation from a russian agent into the investigative record as an exhibit. a foreign agent whom our own intelligence committee warned was actively seeking to influence u.s. politics. not me or senator johnson. not our staff. it was the democrats who inserted disinformation from the russians into our official record. partisan media and democrat leadership ought to be ashamed of themselves for fake information that they spread about our investigation. so, in the end they all failed to stop senator johnson and me. onat august 23, 2020 senator johnson tonight released released our first biden seinvestigation report.
now, i know there's been a lot of talk in this town about verecords and you ought to purse them. in that 2020 report we made public the contents of many treasury records. but we did not stop there. we issued another report november 18, 2020. our report exposed extensive financial relationships between hunter in james biden in chinese nationals connected to the communist regime. more precisely chinese nationals connected to the chinese government military and intelligence services. with the new congress of course senator johnson night transition to be ranking members. we had not forgot about what the triad of a partisan media, fbi and democrats and leadership did
to us. so we don't stop we do any congressional that's worth their salt would do. we gathered even more records to prove them all wrong. we acquired authentic bank records that substantiated findings of our previous two reports. the financially linked hunter biden and james biden to entities and individuals connected with the communist chinese regime. we also acquired business records with hunter in james biden's signatures alongside those same chinese nationals. how are they supposed to be paid? according to bank records there were wires from companies linked to the communist regime. in speeches we made those bank records in public and asked this question to our partisan detractors with the same ones i
mentioned throughout my remarks others.e a lot of are these official bank records russian disinformation? we also shared hundreds of pages of bank records with u.s. attorney weiss, he failed to respond. now, as our investigation continues whistleblowers approach my office with allegations the fbi created an assessment inas august 2020 thei same month the fbi briefed me and senator johnson. according to these whistleblowers that assessment was used by fbi headquarters to improperly discredit negative hunter biden information as you might expect, disinformation. as a result this scheme allegedly caused investigative activity to entirely cease. it has been further alleged to me that in september 2020 the
same month the senator johnson and i released our first report those fbi headquarters personnel began placing their analysis of the credibility of reporting related to the biden family and what i had been told a restricted access sub file. rather allegations to my office involved fbi personnel the washington field office to improperly ordered information to be closed by the fbi related l 200 biden's potential criminal conduct in october 2020 just before the election even though it was verified or verifiable. other whistleblower disclosures to my office made clear the fbi has within its possession very significant, impactful and voluminous evidence with respect to potential criminal conduct by
hunter and james biden. these disclosures also alleged a biden was aware of hunter biden's business arrangements and may have been involved in some of them. we still are not sure what has been done with this information. the fbi's track record does not create much faith the information is going to be followed up on. it is clear to me that the justice department and the fbi are suffering from a political infection that if it is not defeated will cause the american people no longer to trust these storied institutions. it will also threaten the american way of life. and fortunately what you have heard from in the story of government abuse and political treachery is scarier than fiction, it really happened. but mr. chairman, your committee
here so assembled has an opportunity to help us write the last chapter in this real-life drama. you must relentless pursue the facts and the evidence center johnson and i will do the same and are willing to work with you, thank you foror a quick thk you so much senator grassley. senator johnson? western jordan, ranking member, members of the select committee. thank you for inviting me too testify about my personal knowledge of and experience with federal agencies being weaponize against u.s. citizens. senator grassley is just described the most egregious examples undertaken by multiple actors and agencies to undermine and sabotage our jointle investigationss . but to begin let me be clear, throughout my testimony iag am t talking about the men and women in government who conduct themselves with integrity and patriotism. but at the outset it is
important to recognize corrupt individuals within federal agencies that i am talking about are not acting alone. they operate as vital partners of the left wing political movement that includes most members of the mainstream media, big tech social media giants, global institutions and foundations for democratic party operatives and elected officials press the twitter files revealed these actors work in concert to defeat their political components and promoteel left-wg ideology and government control over ourur lives. my eyes began open to this reality with the disclosure of how the obama administration weaponize the irs to harass tea party groups by denying them tax-exempt status for my personal knowledge inexperience with agency corruption began in 2015 when i became chairman of the senate committee on homeland security and governmental
affairs. my first investigation ultimately revealedwh extensive editing and then fbi director james comey of his july 5, 2015 statement that exonerates secretary clinton regarding her use of a private e-mail server for official business. yet it was clearly made to downplay the seriousness of her actions. it is important to note those partisan edits were made by the same cast of characters in the fbi that would initiate and drive the corrupt russian/tramp collisionn investigation. during our investigation of the fbi's involvement in the russian collision hoax, senator grassley and i uncovered a made public highly partisan text messages between fbi employees peter strzok and alisa page. strikes december 15, 2016 quote think begin leaking like mad scorn, worried and political they are kicking into overdrive
has never been given the attention it deserves. in 2022 interview with jeff gerth struck nowdr believes quoe is more likely the text came not from the cia but senior levels of the u.s. government or congress. who might those leakers be? why do reporters receive the leaks outrage being fed false information? why haven't they blown the whistle on the leakers? why didn't the mainstream media robustly investigate how they were all duped? the answer is they weren't duped. they were complicit in creating and fostering the political turmoil our country has been experiencing over the last six years. those leaks were a key ingredient in the most destructive political dirty trick in u.s. history. the creation and promotion of
the false russia/tramp collision narrative. the most how effective however that narrative relied on coordination between government actors and the media. the left had allies in the fbi. i'm able to verify the steele dossier the fbiad offered christopher steele $1 million to provide verification. on december, 2016 the fbi knew they had investigated stills primary sub source as a russian spy. phis abuse fbi officials quote did not have any indication whatsoever unquote. i've russian influence on the steele dossier. our investigation uncovered redacted footnotes to that same
document that completely contradicted that statement. why would false statement appear in the report but the truth be hidden in classified footnotes? fourteen months later and february 2018 the fbi still briefed the senates intelligence committee that dossier had validity. when the mueller port found no evidence of collision left engineered an impeachment of president. trump. the cooperations in the house intelligence committee and the impeachment whistleblower remains murky. then chairman adam schiff originally denied his committee had contact with the whistleblower prior to the filing of the complaint. a claim schiff later attempted to walk back. the genesis of the impeachment saga is yet to be fully investigated. it needs to be. prior to the impeachment proceedings hunter biden's obvious conflicts of interest in
ukraineo became public and senator grassley knight began investigating. we did not target joe and hunter biden. their actions demanded it. on december 9, 2019 the fbi issued grand jury subpoena and took possession of hunter biden's laptop for jon paul macisaac computer shop owner in wilmington, delaware. as the fbi left his shop with the laptop he recalled one agent saying quote it is our experience that nothing ever happens too people that don't talk about these things unquote. that statement was the opening salvo in a coordinated effort over the next 10 months to sabotage any public revelation of hunter biden's laptop or any wrongdoing connected to the bidens. senator grassley has provided number of examples of that
sabotage we will release a report that goes into far greater detail then we have time for today. when available, i hope everyone it. read perhaps the most egregious and effective active sabotage against the truth was a public letter signedpe by 51 former intelligence officials that claimm the laptop had quote all the classic earmarks of a russian operation unquote. that letter itself wasn't information operation interfered with and impacted the 2020 oppresidential election to a far greater extent than anything russia could ever have hopede to achieve. each of those intelligence officials needs to be interviewed to determine how that letter was masterminded. but we all condemned the violence on january 6, we all
condemned the violence on january 6. the server or seek department of justice pursued those protesters and rioters stands in stark contrast to the lack of interest in the summer of 2020 rioters. serious questions regarding instances of unequal application of justice in violation generate six defendant due process rights remain unanswered. swat team arrest and treatment of prisoners are legitimate concerns. neither the senate nor house investigation adequate explained why the capitol was so woefully unprepared or how many federal agents and informants were in the crowd? covid has exposed the awesome power that can be misused by government officials. the loss of basic freedoms has
been nothing less than breathtaking. our response of the pandemic has been a miserable failure. a miserable failure. over 1 million lives lost for the human toll the economic devastation caused by shutdowns that did not work. the loss of learning and other psychological harms to our children. mental health officials denied patients early treatment. and to this day refused to acknowledge the extent of significant injuries caused by vaccines. e-mails between anthony fauci and francis collins reveal how they intended to use their awesome government authority and power to accomplish a quote devastating public takedown unquote of scientists who offer a different approach to handling the pandemic. the e-mails also revealed couches attempt to hide his agency's role in funding
dangerous research that might have led to the creation of the deadly coronavirus. we do not know because those agencies will not provide the unredactede cr documents. federal health agencies have not been honest or transparent. i havecu written over 50 oversights letters the vast majority of questions i have asked have either received an adequate response or no response at all. i have requested information that the public has a rights, has a right to know. doctors who have had the courage and compassion to treat covid patients using the off label prescription rights have been vilified, censored, and their careers destroyed. other health professionals who have noticed showed the line and remained silent. parents who out of concern for
theirto children question school boards and administrators have been labeled potential domestic terrorist and must now fear scrutiny from the federal law enforcement. with release of the twitter files and louisiana lawsuits against the biden administration, we are getting a clearer picturere of how active government officials words of pressing free speech and controlling the narrative. it is also become obvious the world health organization has been captured by the chinese government. the global institutions in general have been captured by the left and some charitable foundations are exerting farti more power over public policy than should bens allowed. chairman jordan, members of the committee, you have important work before you. although you have been generous in granting tenderness to offer my testimony, i have barely scratched the surface in describing the complexity, power, and destructive nature of
the forces we face. our founders fully understood government was necessary to avoid anarchy. but they also knew government power was something to fear. that is why they devised a set of checks and balances to limit government power and influence over oure lives. ideally a free press would hold all government officials equally accountable. but with today's media mostly by the left, congressional oversight is needed now more than ever. and because the administration is not cooperative and transparent congress needs whistleblowers of agencies throughout the federal government. i urge men and women with integrity to come forward and reveal the truth. senator grassley and i will do everything we can to encourage bipartisan oversight in the senate to stand ready to assist your efforts in any way that we can. thank you. >> thank you,, senator johnson e
look forward to your report. we hope that's coming shortly. now recognize representative raskin for his testimony. >> chairman jordan, ranking member and your colleagues. our framers were enlightenment thinkers who wrote us and enlightenment constitution. they wanted government to operate on the basis of facts, science and common sense. not ignorance and superstition. they wanted america to usher in an age of reason. but the separation of powers the framers constitutionalize newton's third law of motion checking every action with an equal and opposite reaction. congress in article one was given the central role of legislating and making progress for our people. the oversight function is not specified in article one but the supreme court has already said it is implied, something necessary and proper for the legislative function. madison famously said those who
mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. dear colleagues, your subcommittee could conceivably be part of aar proud history of serious bipartisan oversight stretching from the teapot dome investigation to the bowling investigationse into the waterge hearings to the tobacco hearings to the select committee on the january 6 attack. or you can take oversight down a very dark alley filled with conspiracy theories in disinformation. a place where facts are the enemy and partisan destruction is the overriding goal. millions of americans already feared weaponization is the right name for the special subcommittee. not because weaponization of the government is its targets but weaponization of the government is its purpose. what is in a name? everything is here. the odd name of the
weaponization sub committee constitutes a case of pure psychological projection of former donald trump and his followers accuse you of doing something, they are usually telling you exactly what their own plans are by establishing a select subcommittee on weaponizationex they are telling us donald trump's followers who obviously controlled the subcommittee will continue weapon icing any part of the government they can get their hands on to attack their enemies to find anyone who stands in the way of their quest for power. to be clear that's not an exclusively partisan operation but they have proven their weapon icingng government not jt against the other party but againstly anyone who refuses to bend to the will and whim of one donald trump. whether that's a lifelong republican state official georgia secretary of state, foreign head off state like president zelenskyy, a political
movement like black lives matter, once close personal friend and allyy of trumps like his personal lawyer michael cohen for many years or even a trunk while trump cabinet appoint lifelong republican like attorney william barber if these people break from the habits of lying and lawlessness that define life as a cap follower in the cult of donald trump or if the weaponize and make a campaign is not exactly partisan it is entirely political. it is gotten overriding electoral focus you know what it is it's all about restoring donald trump the twice and peach former president to the office he lost by 7 million votes in 2020 and tried to still back in a political coup in violent insurrection against our constitutional order ungenerous six, 2021. do you disagree? please don't take my word for it. as our chairman might say just
listenen to what german jordan d same cell six months but the conservative politicalld action conference in dallas where he was predictingir gop victory in the 22 elections and promising oversight of hundred biden's laptop and the claim the federal government is treating moms and dads like the ones in this room like terrorists to be the centerpiece of the gop work and the house when they got it back into power. relaxing with a friendly interviewer chairman jordan gave the game awayec entirely quote l of those things need to be investigated just so you had the truth he said plus that will help frame up the 2024 race when i help and i think president trump is going to run and we need to make sure that he wins. we need to make sure that he wins. eethis call to arms the 2024 presidential election was met with theke wild applause from te audience i urge every member of
the subcommittee to go and watch the interview. now of course serious bipartisan committee focus on weaponization of theie government would zero n quickly on the trump administration itself which brought weaponization to frightening new levels across the board to consider just a few examples i have time for illustrative dozens i can provide the subcommittee. one, six week period in 2020 donald trump fired or removed five departmental inspectors in general simply for doing their jobs and not caving into trumps coercive political demands to cover up different forms of administration wrongdoing and misconduct for april 3, 2020 trumpet for congress restoring the intelligence committee inspector general michael atkinson's who had received a whistleblower complaint in august 2019 about improper demands made by trunk to ukrainian president zelenskyy. may 2020 trunk fired steve clinic ig of the state department later claiming he had
no idea who he was saying he fired only at secretary pompeo's request that inspector general was investigating pompeo's decision to bypass congress and sending billions of dollars in arms to saudi arabia but i do have time to get details of the others but may 20 fired mitchell been the transportation deputy ig. he relieved of duty glenn fine acting ig for the defense department. he removed christie graham the acting inspector general of hhs. second, breaching the traditional separation between the president and department of justice criminal prosecutions trump in his obliging attorney generals like jeffrey sessions and william barber repeatedly pressured career prosecutors to go hard or go soft in particular cases always seeking to reward trumps friends or punish his enemies. if weaponization of the department of justice has any mean this is it consider the
egregious of crank out white house counsel under obama was targeted by the d.o.j. for alleged violations and finally indicted on aou single count of making false statements before he was acquitted unanimously by the jury in lesson five hours one of his lawyers observed the department of justice had hounded his clients without any evidence or any purpose former u.s. attorney jeffrey berman said never should have been prosecuted. consider the case off michael cohen the president's former lawyer and confidant for many years. august 2018 he pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations over large hush money payments he arranged for the 2016 election to keep pouring start stormy daniels and to talk about sexual affairs have donald trump you guys member this one. after barb became attorney general february 2019 he worked to kill further investigations related to those payoffs.
and suggested mr. cohen's conviction on campaign finance charges itself be reversed. even though six months had passed since cohen entered a guilty plea. amazingly, after cohen was in t prison for a year and then being transferred out of prison to home confinement during covid-19. they intervened to block his transfer because cohen would not admit it except the condition of his ankle bracelet home confinement not to engage in first amendment activities. specifically writing and publishing a book about donald trump. or saying anything in public on tv or social media about donald trump. cohen had already been home for two weeks and's unconstitutional demand from d.o.j. appeared when he and his attorney dared to as questions about it three federal marshals showed up with handcuffs and shackles and he
onwas returned to the otis bill correctional institute. there he spent 16 days in solitary confinement before they were able to get his case before a federal judge she found it merely bars purpose quote transferring cohen from a furlough in home confinement 'custody was retaliatory and responsive cohen desiring to exercise his firstng amendment right to publish a book critical of the present and discuss the book on social media. can you think of a more egregious example of a weapon i think the department of justice for political purposes then imprisoning and putting in solitary confinement the president's own former lawyer simply because he wanted to exercise his first amendment rights? consider the jon durham investigation the urging of republicans including the good chairman of the jon term special counsel investigation was set up try to findar to wrongdoing by intelligence or
law enforcement agencies and thn origins of the mueller investigation. we have heard some of the murmurings about this today. after four years and millions of dollars spent in durham investigation closed as a total flop without unearthing anything like the deep state conspiracy republicans have been announcing around for years. it could not find anything of substance to it yet bar and germ kept pressing and clearly abusive ways i hope your subcommittee will investigate. one former d.o.j. prosecutor an defense lawyer represented two witnesses before the durham probe told the "new york times" he was shocked. this stuff had my head is spinning he. when did these guys drink the kool-aid and who served it to them? amazingly on prosecutors participating in this wild goose chase actually came into possession of evidence of a real offense from a time government officials of a potentially major financial crime committed by
donald trump durum was suddenly deputized to investigate and the whole investigation mysteriously disappeared without a trace. trumps enablers now this subcommittee not to examine the durum debacle as a case study endangers weaponization of the justice function but rather to pick up the baton from the defeated in demoralizing germ team and keep the wild goose chase going today. thirdly former president no qualms about literally weapon icing our nations law enforcement and military against first amendment activity for his political purposes. i commend to you the debacle that took place june 1, 2020 lafayette square were they mobilizing interagency law enforcement troop and then unleash them on horseback with pepper spray and batons, billy clubs, rubber bullets against a
totally lawfully present crowd. mr. chairman, i want to be clear put i am not suggesting any investigations have taken place during the last two years have been perfect but i'm sure they could have been improved in some ways that is a legit thing for you to ask. it's one thing to engage in systematic oversight driven by commitment to facts and the truth and something radically different to set up a platform or a series of hit-and-run partisan attacks that are just anand vindictive and meant to frame up a presidential campaign in 2024 but some of the new rhetoric we have been hearing can be dangerous as the ranking member was pointing out part after execution of a perfectly lawful search for in palm beach in august of last year politicians begin denouncing the fbi, the full fbi and fbi agents in vitriolic terms. since in the fbi have observed
an increase in violent threats posted on social media against federal officials and facilities including a threat to place a dirty bomb in front of fbi headquarters issuing general calls for civil war and armed rebellion. we have heard those calls before in this chamber august 11, lester person wearing a technical vest and armed with an ar style rifle and nail gun attempted to forcibly enter the fbi cincinnati field office when officers responded he fled the scene andd a pursuit followed. during a prolonged standoff with fbi the man fired multiple shots at ohio state highway patrol. mr. chairman the public is skeptical about this strange new venture with the strange new name that's being launched. so many members involved have done everything they can to block the generally sixth committee investigation of the worst violent attack on an american election and the american congress in our
history. the public wonders whether members refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas themselves should be issuingng congressional subpoenas to other people. oversight must be organized around a comprehensive search for the truth. truth that will lead to progress and not around revenge which will lead us as a country to chaos and ruin for healthy subcommittee will find a way to embark upon a truly bipartisan agenda with all members participating in agreeing on a common agenda for i wish you twell and godspeed on behalf of this difficult venture you are about to proceed on. cliques think in general i can show the gentlemanpe from maryld we respect the fbi agents particularly the ones who have come to us he doesn't too have come to us we will focus on the pafacts something i felt was not exactly presented in the proper way in your testimony. i understand the center from wisconsin has a number of documents you like to ask to be
entered into the record. so without objection those will be entered will get those from you senator johnson for we now turn to her former colleague the former democrat member on the great state of hawaii. >> thank you very much chairman jordan, ranking member and members allow hot. thank you for the opportunity to be here to speak with you today. get. >> thank, you, members, aloha, thank you for the opportunity to be here to speak with you today. benjamin franklin said without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. i love our country and i cherish our god given freedoms that are in shined and the constitution. like every one of you, i took an oath, both as a soldier and as a member of congress to support and defend th serving alongside many of you in congress for eight years representing the people of hawaii's second congressional district serving on the armed services and foreign affairs
committee us. i'm honored to be able to serve in the army reserves now almost 20 years where during that time i deployed 23 war zones and participated in multiple training exercises. i had the opportunity to see firsthand what life is like in countries where therere is no first amendment, where there is no free press, where the government deems itself to be the moral arbiter dictating what iser right and wrong, but can ad cannot be said, who can speak, who is free to worship and who is not. our founders understood the importance of enshrining our god-given freedoms in the constitution and bill of rights to ensure no matter what, which party or person may be in power at any given time our founding documents serve as a reminder of the freedoms that are guaranteed to every american. thomas paine said he that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from
opposition. for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that willcu reach to himself. we cannot be so shortsighted as to thinking silencing speech that we don't like today will not result in our own voices being silenced tomorrow. the work that you've all been charged with in this committee affects all americans and it is too important to allow us to full victim to partisan politics. no matter how deep your differences, we must agree to stand on the side of liberty. unfortunately, right now we live in a country where many americans are afraid to speak freely. afraid to expressfo themselves, afraid to have real open dialogue and debate, afraid of losing their jobs, being canceled or being accused of a crime which could happen if recently introduced legislation criminalizing so-called hate speech is passed into law that no matter how abhorrent the bill protected under the first
amendment. now this fear and this culture of fear and self-censorship is not unfounded. we have individuals in our government working through the mainstream media and a big attack doing exactly what the founders rejected, trying to control whatwo we the people are allowed to see and say under the guise of protecting us from so-called misinformation or disinformation. now of course they appoint themselves as the sole authority andde voice of truth of information. backed by the most lethal force on earth the power to target anyone leading a threat. if they alone are the ones felt designated to get too decide wht is true andnd what is false, wht is information and what is misinformation or disinformation. they say they are doing it for doing it to arere protect the people when in reality, the truth is they think that we are too stupid to think for ourselves, too stupid to
discern for ourselves and to draw our own conclusions. the idea we must blindly accept whatever the government or those in power tell us is true goes against the very essence of our constitution and bill of rightsu which were created as a resounding rejection of the reign of kings, churches and authorities that tell us we must blindly trust them or face the consequences. even though the government has a long history of login to us, you were lied to about the weapons ofof mass destruction in iraq which spurred the war that i served in and so many others sacrificed. they lied for almost two decades claiming success in afghanistan when in fact we saw failure after failure after failure coming at a great cost to this country. we sawaw lies about vietnam that revealed the release of the pentagon papers and about our own government illegally
surveying americans. these are a few examples. there are more. ranking member plaskett talked aboutth how they've abused their power weaponize and to advance their own political interest. this is not and cannot be reduced to a partisan fight. the stakes are too high. we must recognize our own responsibility to stand against such abuses. as we sit here today, the danger is if we choose to reject or challenge whatever those in power declare the so-called truth, we are accused of being anti-authority and a danger to society, spreading misinformation and are then targeted, smeared and cold things like russian asset, white sesupremacist, bigoted, racist, extremist, trader and so on.
more dangerous than any baseless smeared on our own government institutions that exist to serve the people are being weaponize to against us. the department of homeland security declared a heightened domestic terrorism threat due to threee factors the first of whih is the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sew discord or undermine public trustis in u.s. government institutions, and of quote. they are the ones who get to decide what those false or misleading narratives are. former cia director john brennan said in 2021 members of the team are moving in laserlike fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we've seen overseas. an unholy alliance of religious extremists, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, and even libertarians, and ofho quote.
attorney general garland charged the newly created a terrorism unit with targeting those who hold, quote, antiauthority views. that included parents who darede to protest the board off education meetings standing up for the right to have a say in their children's education. a draft copy of the department of homeland security review outlined the intent to target quote on quote,r inaccurate information on a whole host of topics to include the originsnsf covid,, vaccines, u.s. withdrawl from afghanistan and u.s. support to ukraine. the misinformation, disinformation and mall information exists to counter all types of disinformation. once again, they get to determine what this disinformation is. matt test ceo said on the
podcast recentlywh facebook limited the exposure of the hunter biden laptop story just weeks ahead of the 2020 election only afterre talking with the f. twitter took similar action. they recently apologized for doing so, recognizing that their decision was wrong. the cozy relationship between white house officials, the department of homeland security, the fbi and big attack is now well documented and results in private companies noten restricd by the first amendment doing the dirty censorship work of those in government who are not legally allowed to do so themselves. the threat big tech monopolies pose to the democracy is real and serious. i've had personal experience with this. after the primary presidential debate in 2019, i was the most searched candidate of the night. unfortunately, and suddenly, my google ad account was
mysteriously suspended without anye notice or explanation. there were no responses to the multiple attempts to resolve whatever problem could have caused this but after some time passed, magically my account was reinstated with no explanation or apology. the actions omitted my ability to connect with voters who were seeking more information about my candidacy and why i was offering to serve as president commander-in-chief. not only happening to me about other candidates running for various offices. joe can do for office in washington state. he is one i know personally of. this happens all the time with these big tech monopolies interfering in our democracy by manipulating search results based on whatever it is they want the american people to know about a particular candidate or issueni that should be concernig to any of us and all of us. recently we've learned since the
reliefs of a twitter file released high-level former fbi cia and other government officials were behind talent 68 and the list of social media accounts supposedly linked to russian influenceof activity online.64 hamilton 68's work was widely cited as fact by institutions like harvard staff, mainstream organizations acrossmi the board and members of the house of representatives and senate from both political parties including the department committee. thee problem is it was false. twitter themselves determined the vast majority of accounts of hamilton 68 targeted on this list with 644 where, quote, neither strongly russian, nor strongly box, and of quote. they were mostlyth antiestablishment american
voices from across the political spectrum. i was one q of them. former secretary of state clinton accused the sitting member of congress a soldier and candidate running for president of being, quote, groomed by the russians. hern baseless smear worked as intended. it was something that was repeated over and over, headline after headline, article after article, pushed online in every way. this had the harmful impact that itit was intended. i could give you many examples of interactions i've had with people throughout the campaign and still today. but one in particular that had an impact was weeks after the statement was made. i was in south carolina at a campaignd event when an elderly woman came up to me and i could tell she was very disturbed. she put her hands on my
shoulders and she looked into my eyes, her eyes welling up, hands shaking and she said look me in thee eyes. i need to know if you are working for putin. she was serious. i couldn't believe it. i looked her straight back in the eyes and expressed to her from my heart how much i loved this country that i'm willing to die for it. more recently, u.s. senator mitt romney accused me of treason, a crime that is punishable by death under our laws. icc challenged him to back this serious allegation with evidence, what was this based on. there was no response, no explanation, no evidence and certainly no apology. now, these accusations are often
shrugged off as a, it's politics. people say things about politics all the time. it may be easy for some of you to say, but for somebody that wears the uniform, this is serious and it's serious not only to me about my fellow service members and veterans everyone of us making a decision that at some point in our lives to raise our right hand, prepared and volunteering to lay our lives down for this country. what does that mean in reality? it means before every deployment in our own hearts we have to make peace with the possibility that we may not come home. it means writing letters to our loved ones trying to find the words to express our love and gratitude knowing that that may be our final goodbye. it means for those of us who do
come home, doing our best every single day to honor the greatest sacrifices of our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price. it's much bigger than me or any one individual. when those who dare to challenge the establishment are targeted by this powerful conglomerate of government corporate media and big tech weaponize and all they have against the people for their ownle selfish gain has a dangerous chilling effect ongo free speech and send a powerful message if you dare to challenge us, we will come after you. the more we allow this to happen, we start looking less and less like a democratic republic and more and more like a banana republic. ordainedf a government to secure these rights, we are now increasingly facing a determined to take those rights away. george washington warned if men
are to be precluded from offering sentiments on a matter that may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us. the freedom of speech may be taken away and silent we may be led to slaughter like sheep. we have to stop this insanity and protect the sacred freedom, vanquished the fear and self-censorship that is now pervasive. everyone of usprot taking actioo breathe new life into the open thriving democracy encouraging vigorous and substantive debates. encouraging people to think for themselves so we can draw our own conclusionsri where we can disagree without devolving into hate and we can respect each other as fellow americans and treat each other with aloha. the work you have before you is critical for all of these
reasons. the stakes are high, the consequences for better or worse will be long-lasting. for the sake of the american people, our freedom and the future of the country i pray we can set aside our partisan differences and commit to standing together to defend the constitutional right of every american to live free. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, congresswoman gabbard. we appreciate the remarks and we thank you for being here. senator johnson we think you as well for your testimony. the committee will stand in recess for five minutes more or less to get ready for the second panel.