In the wake of the Durham report, Rep. Stewart points to a growing group in Congress that wants to ‘disband the FBI’
Both Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee say there should be consequences for the FBI
Two members of Utah’s congressional delegation say change is imminent for the FBI in the wake of the Durham report, and that a growing number of lawmakers in Washington, D.C., think it could be time to disband the agency, or at least subject it to major reforms.
On Tuesday Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee, both Republicans from Utah, expressed their dismay over what they say is a lack of accountability for those involved in the FBI’s investigation of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“When people say it’s time to disband the FBI, to delegate those authorities to others such as U.S. Marshals, there’s a growing number of people in Congress who begin to feel this way,” Stewart told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
“... Look at what they’ve done in the last 10 years, my gosh you can go back to Martin Luther King and (the FBI) blackmailing Martin Luther King. And then we ask, well, are they going to do it again in 2024?” Stewart said.
The report, compiled by special counsel John Durham, was released Monday and details how the FBI used false and uncorroborated reports to launch its investigation into Trump’s campaign. The investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” fueled years of debate over Trump’s ties to Russia, and led to a high profile report from former special counsel Robert Mueller.
And although the Durham report did not recommend any new charges against those involved in the FBI investigation, Stewart and Lee said its impact will be far-reaching — Stewart said Congress is working to implement new reforms that could open the door for future criminal charges.
“There is no accountability,” he said, pointing to a new bipartisan group within the House Intelligence Committee focused on reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. “... This new working group that we have put together on FISA reform is going to be a vehicle to actually implement reforms, to add criminal liability for some of these activities.”
Stewart noted the actions detailed in the Durham report weren’t illegal, “it just hasn’t ever been envisioned that Justice Department officials, or FBI officials, would do this.”
Lee, meanwhile, questioned the FBI’s current funding, telling the hosts of “Fox and Friends” “there is going to have to be major consequences for the FBI and Department of Justice.”
“I continue to wonder why we have agreed to fund $500 million for a new FBI headquarters; I continue to wonder whether we need a major restructuring at the FBI, a complete decentralization of law enforcement power within the federal government, because we’ve seen that these are ... consequences that our country can’t endure,” he said Tuesday morning.
Lee said that the FBI investigation could have impacted the 2020 presidential election and the Trump administration’s ability to operate.
“It’s an offense to the Constitution,” he said. “Where you do that, to try to throw off a presidential election, that is devastating. That’s the moment where you break glass in case of emergency.”
The Republican senator also said he expects civil action to be brought against individuals involved in the investigation, and stressed that despite the partisan reaction to the Durham report, his concerns go beyond party line.
“Everyone should be equally offended by this because if they can do it today to a Republican, they can do it tomorrow to a Democrat,” he said.