In the wake of “Memogate” it appears that the Republican Party has officially turned on the FBI in an attempt to hinder the Mueller investigation.
The anti-FBI sentiments have been flying for weeks with comments like Paul Ryan’s call for a “cleanse,” and Senator Ron Johnson’s (WI) accusations of “corruption at the highest levels.” The House Intelligence Committee Chair, Devin Nunes, even claimed the FBI and the DOJ were under investigation.
Law enforcement experts are dismayed by all of the Republican rhetoric against the FBI, a respected institution, and consider the attacks an effort to shield Trump.
The agency isn’t perfect, and there have definitely been eras in history where they overreached. Founder J. Edgar Hoover had a history of targeting certain people and clashing with President Johnson. In more recent years, the FBI spied on environmentalists and was allegedly guilty of targeting minority groups in the war on terror.
However, the FBI has never before seen an attack from an entire political party for investigating a national security threat. Presidents have fired bureau directors in the past, but they did not try to undermine the entire institution as the current administration is attempting to do. Even if the top members, like Comey, made mistakes it is rather coincidental that the agency only started drawing such ire from Trump after his associates started being indicted and convicted in the Russian Collusion investigation.
This effort to tar the FBI’s reputation by Republicans could backfire though. One former agent, David Gomez, described the effect it was having on the “rank and file” saying, "In some ways it steels your resolve to actually do the best job you can. If it's affecting anybody, it's actually making them want to work harder."
America can only hope that it has the same effect on the Mueller team.