The FBI might have had a role in "organizing and participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot," according to Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who is seeking answers from FBI Director Christopher Wray by Aug. 1.
"The FBI clearly doesn't have objections to selected releases of video and images from these days but it begs the question: Why is there not more transparency?" Gaetz told Newsmax's "Cortes & Pellegrino" on Thursday.
"What did the FBI know? And when did they know it?"
Gaetz's appearance Thursday came one day after he sent a letter to Wray for answers.
"The question of whether or not the FBI animated some of the criminal conduct is one that is far more grave," Gaetz told co-hosts Steve Cortes and Jenn Pellegrino. "You talked about the Detroit situation with Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer, the very same FBI personnel that orchestrated that operation end[ed] up in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters.
"And so it's reasonable to ask whether or not the FBI is engaged in a playbook where first they infiltrate an organization and then they try to bring that organization to the point of criminal conduct as a mechanism as to try and bring it down.
"The FBI has a long history of this, dating back to even the Civil Rights era, and I certainly hope our premier law enforcement organization is not actually working to violate federal law."
Gaetz said he fears a political weaponization of the FBI and the Justice Department, adding it is "an agency that has a whole lot of swamp left in it and needs to be drained."
"I do not think we are dealing with a small group of bad apples," Gaetz added. "I think that the FBI has morphed into a political opposition research organization and a political activism organization more than a law enforcement organization.
"Law enforcement is done best at the state and local level, not with a bunch of folks in Washington, D.C., who are addicted to the coverage that they receive from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN."
Gaetz told Pellegrino he has a pretty strong gut and his feeling is the FBI infiltrated the Jan. 6 protesters that stormed the Capitol, and he wants answers about it.
"We see an FBI and Department of Justice that I think has strayed from its original mission and now they're engaging as political actors," Gaetz said. "You know Jenn, I've been called a conspiracy theorist just for asking these questions, but whether it was the Russian hoax that was nonsense or the origins of the coronavirus at the Wuhan lab, I've got a pretty good track record of being right when I make pronouncements.
"And what I can say today is there was FBI infiltration of these groups and what we've got to decide is whether that infiltration led to more acute criminal conduct than would have otherwise occurred."
The congressman vows to use the authority of the House Judiciary Committee to get the answers if Wray fails to respond by Aug. 1.
"Director Wray can clear all of this up," Gaetz concluded. "He can lay out the extent there was infiltration and he could tell us, 'yes or no, were there FBI agents or operatives who were present on Jan. 6 who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6,' and if that is the case, then I think that we'll have a lot more follow up."
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