Concerns about possible biases within the FBI-- particularly pertaining to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election -- escalated on Tuesday when Florida Republican Francis Rooney called for a “purge” of the intelligence agency and the Department of Justice.
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Rep. Francis Rooney expanded on his inflammatory comments during an interview with FOX Business’ Trish Regan on Wednesday, suggesting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and congressional oversight committees need to subpoena organizational leadership to further investigate potential political biases.
“I was so overwhelmed and fearful when I saw the kind of conduct that [Peter] Strzok and [Bruce] Ohr and Deputy Attorney General McCabe were engaged in,” Rooney said. “I just feel, for an agency that has so much influence over Americans’ lives, they have to be purer than pure.”
FBI agent Peter Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence, exchanged anti-Trump messages with another agent, calling the then-candidate a “loathsome human” and an “idiot” over text message. Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation in August when he discovered the messages.
Meanwhile, Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy general, was demoted after revelations emerged about undisclosed meetings he had with officials from Fusion GPS, the research firm that reportedly published the unverified Trump dossier at the behest of Republicans, and later, Democrats.
Rooney isn’t the only one questioning the FBI since the messages surfaced: Trump slammed the organization’s leadership in a series of tweets, and House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is drafting a report with another Republican that is expected to contend that there’s “corruption” within the FBI.
“Everyone is entitled to their own religious, political, etc. beliefs. That’s what our constitution demands and protects,” Rooney said. “But I thought these emails and these discussions about the dossier went a lot further than that.”