The House Freedom Caucus is increasingly frustrated with the Justice Department refusing to hand over documents critical to the investigation into the 2016 campaign and with its own Republican leadership on issues ranging from immigration to spending and more.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is a member of the House Freedom Caucus and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He says the Justice Department is dragging its feet on turning over documents related to many different aspects of the 2016 campaign and the ongoing Mueller probe.
“(It’s) everything to be quite honest with you because the investigations into Hillary Clinton as well as the presidential campaign have shown there is egregious overreach here. but one of the key points is what the scope of this (Mueller) investigation actually is.
“We see Mr. Mueller on a fishing expedition, trying to get anybody and everybody tagged into a crime that they create,” said Gosar.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C, is leading the charge for a second special counsel to be named so that person could impanel a grand jury and bring possible criminal charges on a range of issues.
However, Gosar says that is unlikely to happen since he believes the Justice Department is trying to “wait out the clock.” When asked whether that meant letting the Mueller investigation play out or see if Democrats win a majority in one or both chambers of Congress, Gosar suggested it was both.
“A Pelosi-borne House cancels all these processes,” said Gosar, noting that his goal is to make sure “the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C, aren’t being held to a different standard than people out in the real world.”
Gosar and other House Freedom Caucus members are also furious with how Republican leaders are handling the immigration issue as proponents of a DACA amnesty near the 218 signatures needed to force the issue on the House floor.
The congressman blasts leadership for repeatedly promising to put the far more conservative Goodlatte bill on the floor for a vote but never making good on the vow. That plan would only grant legal status to DACA enrollees, rather than a path to citizenship. It would also limit chain migration to the immediate family, cancel the visa lottery, mandate E-Verify for all hires in the U.S. and beef up border security.
He also says leaders have reneged on promises to bring a bill to the floor focused solely on scrapping the visa lottery.
“Trust is a series of promises kept. Leadership has drug its feet repeatedly on this aspect,” said Gosar.
GOP leaders are pleading with members not to sign the discharge petition, but Gosar says the alternative offered by leadership is equally unacceptable.
“We were presented with an idea. They would go forward with the Goodlatte bill but we had to agree to a rule vote that not only brought up the Goodlatte bill but brought up an immigration bill to be named later as well. No one in their right mind actually does that,” said Gosar.
Freedom Caucus members held up the latest farm bill in protest of the leadership’s performance on immigration but also to protest what they expect to be significant watering down of the farm bill in the Senate.
Gosar says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has no intention of fighting to keep welfare work requirements in the legislation but does plan to push hard for legalizing industrial hemp.
Gosar says it’s another example of leaders unilaterally deciding what legislation will look like, just as House and Senate leaders hammered out an agreement for the $1.3 trillion omnibus earlier this year.
The congressman says new GOP leadership is desperately needed but there will be no leadership elections anytime soon because current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy cannot get 218 Republicans to support him.