“G.O.P. Witnesses, Paid by Trump Ally, Embraced Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theories”


House Republicans have spent months promising to use their majority to uncover an insidious bias against conservatives on the part of the federal government, vowing to produce a roster of brave whistle-blowers who would come forward to provide damning evidence of abuses aimed at the right.

But the first three witnesses to testify privately before the new Republican-led House committee investigating the “weaponization” of the federal government have offered little firsthand knowledge of any wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to Democrats on the panel who have listened to their accounts. Instead, the trio appears to be a group of aggrieved former F.B.I. officials who have trafficked in right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, and received financial support from a top ally of former President Donald J. Trump.

The roster of witnesses, whose interviews and statements are detailed in a 316-page report compiled by Democrats that was obtained by The New York Times, suggests that Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the panel, has so far relied on people who do not meet the definition of a whistle-blower and who have engaged in partisan conduct that calls into question their credibility. And it raises questions about whether Republicans, who have said that investigating the Biden administration is a top goal, will be able to deliver on their ambitious plans to uncover misdeeds at the highest levels.

“Each endorses an alarming series of conspiracy theories related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Covid vaccine, and the validity of the 2020 election,” Democrats wrote in the heavily footnoted report, which cites scores of statements made by the witnesses. “One has called repeatedly for the dismantling of the F.B.I. Another suggested that it would be better for Americans to die than to have any kind of domestic intelligence program.”

The report also notes that the men are tied to far-right Republican operatives and former Trump administration officials who have an interest in promoting false claims about the Jan. 6 attack and the Biden administration while working to defend Mr. Trump, who is seeking a second term.

Other potential witnesses for the new subcommittee are F.B.I. employees who were disciplined for attending protests on Jan. 6, 2021, according to Mr. Jordan.

Mr. Friend, who resigned from the F.B.I., is part of a group of former agents who were placed on leave and called themselves “the suspendables.” In a letter sent last year to Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, the group claimed that the bureau had discriminated against conservative-leaning agents.

Mr. Hill has claimed on Twitter that the Jan. 6 attack was a “set up,” and that there was “a larger #Democrat plan using their enforcement arm, the #FBI.” He also described the F.B.I. as “the Brown Shirt enforcers of the @DNC,” making an apparent reference to Nazi storm troopers to describe the federal law enforcement agency and its relationship to the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. O’Boyle and Mr. Friend both testified that they had received financial support from Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist and former high-ranking official in the former president’s administration. Mr. Friend said Mr. Patel sent him $5,000 almost immediately after they connected in November 2022 and that Mr. Patel has helped to promote Mr. Friend’s forthcoming book on social media.

In a statement, Mr. Patel declined to confirm that he has provided financial support to the witnesses but suggested that his organization has been focused on helping F.B.I. employees facing retaliation for speaking out publicly.

“Whistle-blowers who provide credible information exposing government waste, fraud, and abuse serve a critical role for constitutional oversight,” he said.

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