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Once the party of law and order, Republicans are now challenging it

Published on Friday, February 2, 2018

Once the party of law and order, Republicans are now challenging it

Republicans in Congress insist that their efforts are meant to fulfill their duty to provide oversight of the executive branch and root out suspected bias. But critics say their campaign — to “cleanse” the FBI, in the words of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — has been clearly orchestrated to safeguard the president and undercut the Russia probe, which includes an examination of whether Trump or his associates have sought to obstruct justice.

“It’s an extraordinary moment,” said Steve Schmidt, a strategist on George W. Bush’s and John McCain’s presidential campaigns who opposes Trump. “The party has become completely unmoored from things that it held as close to sacred until very recently, including a fidelity to the country’s security institutions.”

The GOP offensive has raised doubts among millions of Americans about the independence and integrity of federal law enforcement agencies, which have not been caught in a political maelstrom of this magnitude since the Watergate scandal almost five decades ago.

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