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Scalise slams FBI’s alleged ‘suicide by cop’ ruling for 2017 baseball shooting

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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Wednesday hit back at the FBI allegedly ruling the 2017 shooting at a Republican baseball practice, which almost caused Scalise to die, as a “suicide by cop.”

“I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill,” Scalise wrote, retweeting a Politico article about the FBI revelation. “This was NOT ‘suicide by cop.’ End of story.”

The article detailed how Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a congressman who was on the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field during the June 14, 2017 shooting, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday said the FBI privately informed lawmakers it determined the attack to be a “suicide by cop,” a label he said downplayed the gunman’s seemingly political motivation. This FBI determination had previously been undisclosed, with Wenstrup saying bureau agents privately briefed the baseball team on November 16, 2017 to deliver the controversial determination.

“Much to our shock that day, the FBI concluded that this was a case of the attacker seeking suicide by cop,” the Ohio Republican said to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop. It doesn’t take 136 rounds. It takes one bullet. Both the DHS and the (Office of the Director of National Intelligence) published products labeling this attack as a domestic violent extremism event, specifically targeting Republican members of Congress. The FBI did not.”

While Wray did not directly address Wenstrup’s criticism, aside from noting he wasn’t the FBI director at the time, Wray said he was grateful to Capitol Police and to Wenstrup, a doctor, who used his skills that day to triage wounded lawmakers and others who joined them. The Ohio congressman’s remarks are the first public references that the FBI ruled the shooting as a “suicide by cop.”

The bureau never publicly disclosed its final conclusions about the 2017 attack, according to Politico. A week following the shooting in an interim update, investigators said the shooter, James Hodgkinson, had made several social media posts supporting left-wing causes, “espousing anti-Republican views,” and backing candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but the FBI also mentioned that it couldn’t find evidence of threats to GOP lawmakers or the baseball team on the Hodgkinson’s devices.

Furthermore, according to that interim update, “The morning of the shooting, a witness reported Hodgkinson asking them, ‘Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?’ When the witness responded that it was a Republican event, Hodgkinson reportedly remained at the baseball field.”

That morning, the gunman fired dozens of shots at Republican lawmakers practicing for the annual congressional baseball game with two firearms. He nearly missed Mississippi Rep. Trent Kelly before striking Scalise in the hip. The Louisiana Republican almost bled to death on the field and had to receive a number of surgeries and spent weeks in the hospital before returning to Capitol Hill.

Other lawmakers, two of Scalise’s Capitol Police officers in his security detail, and a lobbyist were injured that day, too. Hodgkinson died from injuries shortly thereafter.

This isn’t the first time this week that Scalise brought up the 2017 shooting. On Monday, he blasted Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) for recent comments she made which Republicans have argued amount to inciting violence, saying, “I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric. Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this.”

RELATED: ‘I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric’: Scalise slams Waters for recent comments

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Is the FBI ‘purging’ agents with Conservative views?

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On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan formally requested that the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, open an investigation into the FBI’s alleged use of political litmus tests to sideline or remove agents and employees with conservative viewpoints. This request also included a direct warning to FBI Director Christopher Wray about these practices.

Jordan’s action follows a report by Just the News detailing how an FBI security clearance review involved inquiries about an employee’s political beliefs. Specifically, the review asked whether the employee had expressed support for former President Donald Trump, attended a Second Amendment rally, or voiced skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to Director Wray, Jordan expressed wrote, “The FBI appears to be purging itself of employees who do not share its preferred political views.” He emphasized the troubling nature of these practices, especially when they impinge on fundamental liberties and constitutional rights.

Speaking on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, Jordan highlighted the severity of the situation: “Particularly when they’re asking about fundamental liberties, your constitutional rights, I mean, that is that is frightening stuff.” He further noted the retaliatory actions taken against whistleblowers who bring such issues to light, adding, “You put all that together, and you talk about politics driving what happens there.”

Jordan’s inquiry into the political weaponization of law enforcement has been ongoing, with a particular focus on the FBI’s conduct. In his communication with Inspector General Horowitz, Jordan underscored that the targeting of an employee’s political beliefs and First Amendment activities was deeply concerning and seemingly unrelated to legitimate security risk assessments. “These actions only serve to further erode the dwindling public trust in the FBI and reinforce the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s concerns about political bias within the FBI,” he wrote.

Jordan also referenced evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, which suggested political retaliation against FBI whistleblowers aiding Congress. He pointed out that an FBI official allegedly disclosed nonpublic information about these whistleblowers to a Democrat member of the Select Subcommittee, ostensibly to discredit their testimonies about FBI misconduct. “It appears from the documents that the FBI sought to selectively disclose this nonpublic information so that it would be used to impugn the credibility of the whistleblowers,” Jordan stated.

In his separate letter to Wray, Jordan questioned the relevance of political viewpoints to security clearance determinations. He argued that while assessing the legality of employees’ actions is legitimate, questions about political beliefs are “completely irrelevant to any legitimate security risk determination” and infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Following the release of internal FBI memos showing that bureau officials had inquired about an employee’s support for Trump, stance on COVID-19 vaccines, and participation in a Second Amendment rally, concerns about political bias have intensified. These memos indicated that the employee’s security clearance was revoked months after confirming his conservative views and vaccine skepticism.

Tristan Leavitt, the lawyer representing the affected FBI employee, commended the congressional oversight, stating, “It’s good to see Congress holding the FBI’s feet to the fire.” He emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into how these questions were used to justify purging conservative employees from the FBI.

 Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton echoed this sentiment on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show, predicting that the FBI would attempt to deflect criticism despite clear evidence of misconduct. “I’m sure we’ll get some distraction and noise from Chris Wray and a reaffirmation that the FBI never does anything wrong, even when it’s caught red-handed,” Fitton remarked.

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