House Republicans investigating corruption at DOJ, FBI

House Republicans are leading a quiet effort to investigate potential corruption at the DOJ and within the FBI. The effort, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, is described as operating in parallel with the ongoing Russia investigation in the House. The main focus of this investigation appears to be the Trump dossier:

A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans…

The people familiar with Nunes’ plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence…

The sources familiar with the separate inquiry said it was born out of steadily building frustration with the Justice Department’s refusal to share details of the way the Trump dossier was used to launch the FBI’s investigation of his campaign team last year — or whether it was the basis for any court-ordered surveillance of Trump associates…

Republicans on the intelligence and judiciary committees have increasingly wondered aloud whether the FBI — which had a longstanding relationship with Steele — used the allegations in his dossier to obtain surveillance warrants to spy on Trump campaign associates. They also want to know if the agency paid Steele for his work at the same time he was being paid by the Clinton campaign.

Naturally, Democrats (and to some extent the authors of this article) see this as part of an attempt to distract and discredit the Russia investigation. Adam Shiff calls it, “an effort to undermine the investigations and these institutions out of fear of what they’ll find.”

But the dossier really is controversial. It was funded by the loser in the 2016 election and the Democratic Party and shared with media outlets as a potential October surprise to knock Trump out of the race. It was also shared with the FBI which paid the author for some of his work.

On top of that, you have the clear indications that at least two of the people involved in the investigation at the FBI were anti-Trump partisans talking about pressing forward as an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the election. So far there’s no proof any of this was actual corruption, but the situation is certainly odd enough to warrant some investigation into the underlying facts.

The media is always going to frame these stories as “Republicans overreach…” but in this case, Republicans may have a point. When partisan oppo research becomes the launch pad for multiple investigations, it’s fair to ask what motivated the people doing the investigating. And given that Hillary Clinton has spent the past year blaming the FBI Director, very directly, for her loss, it’s a little late for Democrats to demand partisans respect the FBI no matter what.