A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday called for a “purge” of what he said are “deep state” elements within the FBI and Justice Department.
“I’m very concerned that the DOJ and the FBI, whether you call it deep state or what, are off the rails,” Florida Rep. Francis Rooney said in an contentious interview with MSNBC host Hallie Jackson.
Rooney expressed concern over what he said was evidence of anti-Trump bias within the law enforcement agencies. He cited the recent scandal involving anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages sent by Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who led both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe.
Rooney also pointed to the recent demotion of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official who met last year with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.
Jackson, the MSNBC host, was clearly agitated by Rooney’s remarks.
“Congressman, you just called the FBI and the DOJ off the rails. Something that you’re okay with talking about here? How does that not sort of undermine the work that the agencies are doing?” she asked.
“I don’t want to discredit them. I would like to see the directors of those agencies purge it,” said Rooney. “And say look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here, those are the people that I want the American people to see and know the good works being done, not these people who are kind of the deep state.”
Jackson responded: “Language like that, Congressman, purge? Purge the Department of Justice?”
“Well, I think that Mr. Strzok could be purged, sure,” Rooney replied.