'We're trying to ferret those people out.'
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) compared the police officer who killed George Floyd to the Justice Department officials investigating Donald Trump, during an interview with a local radio station earlier this month.
"The example of George Floyd, you know, that was a bad actor, a bad policeman. We do have bad actors at the FBI and Justice Department as well," Ernst told KXEL, an Iowa talk radio station, on July 3 referring to investigations into Trump prior to the 2016 election.
"And so we're trying to ferret those people out," she continued. "We want to know how far this goes. Is it from just some bad actors in a basement somewhere at DOJ and FBI, or does that rise all the way to the top to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden?"
Ernst claimed that "bad actors in these law enforcement agencies" sought to "take down political opponents, which is exactly what we saw happening at DOJ and FBI during the race for the White House and President Trump was the subject of those wrongdoings."
Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis earlier this year after the officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, ignoring his repeated pleas for air. The officer has since been charged with second-degree murder.
Ernst compared the actions of that officer with investigations into Trump, who has repeatedly accused law enforcement officers in the federal government of conducting a partisan "witch hunt" against him.
Trump has claimed specifically that the initial investigation into his 2016 campaign, which sought to determine the campaign’s ties to Russia, among other things, was an unfounded and unnecessary attempt to undermine his bid for the presidency.
"My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on," Trump tweeted baselessly in May 2019. "Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!"
In fact, the FBI was justified in opening the investigation — which eventually revealed numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as at least 10 instances of possible obstruction by Trump — according to a 2019 DOJ Inspector General report.
"FBI had an authorized purpose when it opened Crossfire Hurricane to obtain information about, or protect against, a national security threat or federal crime," the inspector found, referring to the investigation by its codename.
The investigation ultimately uncovered some missteps by the FBI, but did not find evidence that political bias affected the probe in any way.
Trump also repeatedly attacked special counsel Robert Mueller, a decorated war veteran who served under presidents of both parties, as a partisan actor.
Mueller's investigation in fact yielded numerous indictments, including successful prosecutions or guilty pleas. The Russia probe also resulted in several offshoot investigations.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.