A former Watergate prosecutor blasted three FBI whistleblowers Jim Jordan brought before his government “weaponization” subcommittee for spouting biases and baseless conspiracy theories.
Jordan, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s select subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, said he has “dozens of whistleblowers” who will testify to the “political nature” of the FBI and the Justice Department (DOJ).
A new report from the Democrats minority on the committee, however, discredits three of Jordan’s key “whistleblowers,” accusing them of pushing conspiracy theories, failing to provide any actual evidence of FBI or DOJ wrongdoing, and having ties to former Trump administration officials. The report was written by ranking members Jerrold Nadler of New York and Stacey Plaskett, the delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nick Akerman, former assistant special Watergate prosecutor and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told Newsweek on Friday that Jordan and the Republicans are relying on “three nutcases” to provide evidence of a “Deep State conspiracy” about COVID-19, January 6, 2021, Capitol riot or the 2020 presidential election being stolen.
Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, is seen on January 9 in Washington, D.C. A former Watergate prosecutor called three of Jordan’s FBI whistleblowers “nutcases” after a report of their testimonies discredits them as bias conspiracy theories. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Akerman conducted grand jury investigations related to the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters and subsequent coverup during the Nixon administration.
He dismissed their testimonies as “purely political stuff” that they got off the internet.
“It’s really horrible. There’s no specifics, there’s no evidence,” Akerman said. “It’s just insane. This is like the fringe of the fringe out there that they’re relying on.”
He added that the witnesses aren’t real whistleblowers, but people pushing “wild” conspiracy theories that they cannot prove and of which they have no first-hand knowledge.
“They can’t point to any specifics or facts and the bias here is so obvious. These guys have past histories of spreading the same stuff on the internet and being paid for it…by Trump,” Akerman said.
The three former FBI agents, George Hill, Stephen Friend, and Garret O’Boyle, are among the witnesses Jordan brought forth to testify to the politicization of the FBI and DOJ.
In their testimonies, they each blasted the handing of their investigation into the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. They also have been vocal on Twitter and on news programs about their criticism of the FBI and the Biden administration.
Akerman said this “outrageous” investigation is going to blow up in Republicans’ faces, calling it “an absolute waste of government funds.”
“It’s not based on reality and it’s unlike any other congressional investigation I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding that it seems as though none of the witnesses were properly vetted before their testimonies.
First-hand knowledge, Akerman said, is key to these types of congressional investigations.
“That’s the first and foremost important thing to do here,” he added. “Are the people you’re putting forward do they know something from firsthand knowledge? Did they see it or did they hear it?”
Akerman credits the House select committee investigating the events leading up to the Capitol riot for its work bringing witnesses with direct knowledge of facts in for depositions.
Instead, it appears these witnesses are bringing “their own pure speculation that doesn’t even seem to be based in any factual predicate,” Akerman said.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee criticized the Democrats’ report, accusing them of “cherry-picking” parts of the testimonies.
“It is beyond disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that Democrats would leak cherry-picked excerpts of testimony to attack the brave whistleblowers who risked their careers to speak out on abuses at the Justice Department and FBI,” Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan, told Newsweek in a statement.
If that’s the case, Akerman said the “common sense” response from Republicans to defend the credibility of the witness is to “put out the whole transcript.”
“If what they’re saying is ‘it’s cherry picking,’ then they ought to release the entire transcript,” he said. “If what they’re saying is true, let’s see what these people said in toto.”
He adds that the only way the public will understand what is going on with this subcommittee investigation is if the committee allows witnesses to testify in-person and not keep them behind closed doors.
For Democrats, Akerman said they should treat these witnesses like they would in any other investigation and demand the transcripts from the testimonies be released to the public.
“Show that they have absolutely no knowledge, show that they’re completely making this up, show that they’re being paid by one of Trumps minions there to spread this stuff and show their bias and show that they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jordan has already take steps to continue his investigation by seeking testimonies from 16 current and former FBI employees.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday, Jordan wrote that he is seeking his cooperation, noting that the DOJ already said it “intends to limit the scope and nature of information available to the Committee as part of our oversight.”
“Our need to obtain testimony from FBI employees is vital for carrying out our oversight and for informing potential legislative reforms to the operations and activities of the FBI,” he wrote. “From the documentary and testimonial information that we have obtained to date, we have identified several FBI employees who we believe possess information that is necessary for our oversight.”
Newsweek reached out to Jordan, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee Democrats and the DOJ for comment.