Pelosi calls on Republicans to tone down attacks on FBI
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday urged Republicans to cease their attacks on the FBI and other law enforcement, suggesting the rhetoric has heightened the threat of violence against public officials.
A number of GOP lawmakers have gone after the FBI in the wake of Monday’s search by the agency into classified documents allegedly held by former President Trump at his South Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
During a press briefing in the Capitol, Pelosi denounced Trump’s history of bashing the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, saying the threat to public officials, including members of Congress, has been “exacerbated by the statements of the [former] president.”
Pelosi then called on other Republican leaders to condemn GOP attacks of the same ilk, particularly before the details surrounding the FBI search become known.
“You would think there would be an adult in the Republican room that would say, ‘Just calm down. See what the facts are, and let’s go for that,'” she said, “instead of … instigating assaults on law enforcement.”
Following Monday’s FBI search, a number of GOP lawmakers have attacked the agency, accusing the Justice Department of abusing its powers for the sole purpose of doing political harm to Trump, who is speculated to be eying another run for the White House in 2024.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) quickly tweeted the need to “destroy the FBI” in order to “save America.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) compared the U.S. under President Biden to a banana republic. And Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) are calling on Congress to defund the FBI.
The fiery GOP response prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday to rush to the agency’s defense, condemning the “unfounded attacks” on “patriotic public servants.”
“Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights,” Garland said.
The threat of violence against law enforcement was amplified on Thursday when police in Ohio killed a man who had stormed into a Cincinnati FBI building with an AR-15-style rifle.
Reports have indicated that investigators are looking into the man’s potential ties to extremist groups and last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has also hammered the FBI following Monday’s search, gave no indication Friday that he is ready to take Pelosi’s advice to tone down the rhetoric. He said Democrats are to blame for any demonizing of law enforcement.
“It’s all on the Democratic side, they want to defund the police. They’ve been doing that for a number of years,” he said. “I just think that’s wrong.”
While congressional leaders are frequently briefed on matters of national security, Pelosi said Friday that she had not been made aware of any aspect of either Monday’s search or the ongoing investigation into the documents Trump had held at Mar-a-Lago.
“Just know what’s in the public domain,” she said.
But Pelosi also characterized what’s appeared in those public reports as deadly serious when it comes to protecting national security, likely alluding to The Washington Post report that the documents pertained to nuclear weapons.
“If the nature of these documents is what [it] appears to be, this is very serious,” Pelosi said.
Aris Folley contributed.