The new Republican-led House committee digging into the weaponization of government wasted no time Thursday ruffling White House feathers and spotlighting the use of federal power to stifle dissent.
Called the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, the group will probe “ongoing criminal investigations” into the Biden administration’s data collection and inquiries on U.S. residents.
Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said the panel is “focused on the whole weaponization of government and the idea that the government is not working for the American people.”
The Republican declared that Washington is supposed to protect the First Amendment, not engage in “censorship by surrogate.” This effort, of course, did not sit well with its targets.
Before the committee even conducted its first hearing on Thursday, the Oval Office attempted to tear it down. The White House referred to the panel as a “Fox News reboot of the House Un-American Activities Committee.”
The new weaponization subcommittee created by House Republicans — and aimed at countering alleged abuse of government powers against conservatives — held its first meeting Thursday. https://t.co/x3IOIOuogq
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 10, 2023
Further, the administration called it a political stunt perpetrated by “extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress.”
Not to be outdone, the top Democrat on the House Weaponization Subcommittee slammed the proceedings even as they were just beginning.
Virgin Islands delegate Stacey Plaskett chided House Republicans for presiding over a panel to “showcase conspiracy theories and advance an extreme agenda.” The Democrat accused the GOP of blurring the line between “legitimate oversight and weaponization of Congress.”
Plaskett previously served as an impeachment manager in the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
The first day of hearings featured testimony from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Both have been instrumental in launching investigations into the FBI, the Department of Justice, Hunter Biden, Big Tech and others.
As the hearings progress, they are scheduled to feature witnesses such as George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley and former FBI agents Thomas Baker and Nicole Parker.
The chorus of Democrats crying foul is a great indication that there is much work for the committee to accomplish. Republicans promised this brand of oversight when they took over the House majority, and the panel is a significant step towards holding Washington accountable.