Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the comments at a 'conservative activist summit' in Atlanta, where he was campaigning for Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was recorded at an event billed as a "conservative activist summit" in Atlanta on Saturday saying there should be a "complete housecleaning" at the FBI and massive job cuts at the Internal Revenue Service.
Cruz, who has previously presented himself as a strong "Back the Blue" supporter of law enforcement, was filmed at the right-wing super PAC Truth and Courage's rally at an Atlanta hotel by Lauren Windsor, a political activist and founder of the web program The Undercurrent, which posts secretly recorded videos in which politicians, believing they are speaking with someone who agrees with them, reveal views that they may not otherwise bring up with journalists.
In the video, Windsor thanks Cruz for "all you're doing to fight for Herschel Walker and to take back the Senate. And I just think it's so important that, like, you guys are actually going to defund all those IRS agents." Cruz responds, "Absolutely."
After Windsor says that it's "imperative that you really have to defund the FBI after all the witch hunts that are going on, "Cruz says: "It is horrific, the abuse of power at the FBI, and it's wrong. And there needs to be a complete housecleaning that happens at the FBI." Windsor asks, "Are y'all gonna be able to do that when you retake the Senate?" and Cruz responds, "I think we need to fight to do that and we need to fight to have real oversight."
Walker, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat held by incumbent Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, was also a guest at the rally. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Cruz called Walker "truly an amazing man" and said Warnock is "a perfectly nice fellow whose views are radical and extreme and wildly out of step with the people of Georgia."
NEW UNDERCOVER: Ted Cruz agrees to defunding the FBI, says there needs to be “a complete housecleaning that happens at the FBI.” pic.twitter.com/w5aXCtAehH
— Lauren Windsor (@lawindsor) August 30, 2022
A spokesperson for Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
The Texas Republican is mad that the FBI executed a warrant on Aug. 8 to recapture government documents that former President Donald Trump had apparently improperly taken from the White House and kept in a basement at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Though the raid was approved by a federal judge, reportedly after hundreds of classified documents were returned from Mar-a-Lago in January, Cruz has baselessly suggested it was a political move on the part of the Biden administration.
Without evidence, he tweeted on the day of the raid: "Congress must demand answers. We need hearings; we need subpoenas. Dems in charge will refuse, but the American people deserve to know why Biden is using the FBI as his political enforcers. Tin-pot dictators do that, but that's not how America works."
In an Aug. 17 episode of his podcast, Cruz called the raid an "old fashioned fishing expedition" and likened it to police going after Prohibition Era gangster Al Capone on tax evasion charges.
FBI Director Christopher Wray was nominated by Trump in June 2017 after the then-president fired James Comey from the position over the Bureau's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump lauded Wray at the time as "an impeccably qualified individual" and said, "I know that he will again serve his country as a fierce guardian of the law and model of integrity once the Senate confirms him to lead the FBI."
Cruz voted to confirm Wray on Aug. 1, 2017.
Cruz is also upset that the Inflation Reduction Act, which he and every other congressional Republican opposed, includes significant funding for the IRS to hire more staff. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has instructed the agency to use this money in "enforcing the tax laws against those high-earners, large corporations, and complex partnerships who today do not pay what they owe."
His promise to block a crackdown on rich tax cheats comes after Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is in charge of trying to regain a GOP majority in the Senate, penned an open letter aimed at dissuading qualified job seekers from applying for new IRS jobs and warning them that a Republican majority would work to eliminate their positions.
"Republicans will take over the House and Senate in January," he wrote, "and I can promise you that we will immediately do everything in our power to defund this insane and unwarranted expansion of government into the lives of the American people."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.