For decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation enjoyed strong support from Republican political leaders and voters. But the agency’s reputation has crashed among its most dependable constituency amid scandal, corruption, and flagrant politicking on behalf of the Democratic Party.
A Rasmussen poll released today shows that 57 percent of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of the FBI; 47 percent of all likely voters surveyed at the end of December view the FBI unfavorably.
As if to prove the bureau has become the jackboots of the national Democratic Party rather than a nonpartisan law enforcement agency, a whopping 63 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the FBI.
In a question that cribbed an accurate accusation made by Trump loyalist Roger Stone, 64 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement that “a group of politicized thugs at the top of the FBI who are using the FBI…as Joe Biden’s personal Gestapo.” Overall, 46 percent of those polled agreed with Stone’s sentiment.
Christopher Wray gets poor marks from Republicans; 61 percent say Wray, appointed by Donald Trump in 2018, is influenced by Joe Biden and not independent of the administration. Fifty percent of all voters and 35 percent of Democrats believe Wray takes his marching orders from the White House.
Over the past several years—under the leadership of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Wray—the FBI has torched its credibility among the majority of Americans. Comey opened Crossfire Hurricane, a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign based on imaginary Russian election collusion, in 2016. Comey used as evidence before a secret court a “dossier” of false political propaganda sourced by a foreign agent paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Text messages between top agents involved in the probe showed open contempt for Donald Trump and his voters. McCabe lied three times to FBI investigators about his role in leaking classified information; an FBI lawyer and Clinton campaign attorney also have been charged with perjury related to Crossfire Hurricane. (A special counsel continues to investigate the probe’s origins and those involved.)
Aside from the investigation into Trump and his campaign—which came up empty-handed after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion after a two-year witch hunt—the FBI has created more image problems for itself. Comey announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton would not be charged for destroying her email server, which was evidence under a congressional investigation at the time.
FBI field offices ignored for over a year serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar, the head doctor for the women’s Olympic gymnastics team, who molested at least 300 girls and women including gold medalists. But more than a dozen FBI investigators were quickly deployed to a NASCAR speedway in 2020 to find out if someone hung a noose in the garage of one of the sports only black drivers. (The agency concluded no crime was committed.)
More recently, the agency is under scrutiny for its suspected role in the events of January 6. Suspected assets including Ray Epps and Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, have not been charged a year later, fueling speculation both men acted at the behest of the FBI. The New York Times confirmed FBI informants infiltrated the Proud Boys, an alleged militia group that breached the building on January 6. When pressed by Rep. Thomas Massie last year to explain how many FBI agents and informants were involved in the Capitol protest, Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to answer.
And the Justice Department’s case against several men accused of planning to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation cottage in 2020 is falling apart; the plot involved at least a dozen FBI informants, including one who committed at least two crimes while helping the FBI execute the scheme, and undercover agents.
The top agent overseeing the FBI-concocted caper was fired after he was arrested for assaulting and attempting to strangle his wife after a swingers party last summer. Two other FBI agents have been removed from the government’s witness list amid charges of moonlighting and perjury. Defense attorneys in court filings have made a strong case of FBI entrapment.
With January 6 trials set to begin next month, the American people will discover more evidence of FBI involvement in the protest. It’s unlikely those revelations will help the FBI restore its lost credibility.