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GOP Senator Compares Republican Push to Defund FBI to ‘Defund the Police’

GOP Senator Compares Republican Push to Defund FBI to ‘Defund the Police’

Senator Lisa Murkowski compared her fellow Republicans‘ efforts to defund the FBI in the wake of former President Donald Trump‘s indictment to Democratic calls to “defund the police.”

Republicans responded with outrage after the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Trump on 37 charges related to the case involving classified documents allegedly stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence after he left office in January 2021. Federal prosecutors accused Trump of improperly storing the files, some of which allegedly contained military plans, and obstructing government efforts to retrieve the documents.

Trump and his allies have accused the DOJ of conducting a politically-motivated probe aimed at weakening his standing in the 2024 presidential race and have argued Trump has not been treated fairly in the justice system.

Some conservatives, including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, are now aiming to defund federal law enforcement agencies like the DOJ and the FBI. Greene said last week she would withhold support from any appropriations bill that would fund “the weaponization of government.”

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski listens during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on May 10, 2023. Murkowski compared some Republicans’ efforts to defund federal law enforcement agencies such as the DOJ and FBI to Democratic calls to “defund the police.”
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Calls to defund federal law enforcement agencies may be growing among the GOP’s right flank but have not appeared to catch on with the party’s more moderate members.

Murkowski, a centrist Alaska Republican who has been critical of the former president, voiced opposition to “defund” calls in remarks made to The Hill.

“It was not too many years ago when the big cry [among Democrats] was, ‘Defund the police,’ and Republicans were saying, ‘Are you out of your mind?’” Murkowski said. “Now, the Republicans are saying defund the Department of Justice, defund the FBI. What are we doing people? Yes, I’m worried.”

Following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, some progressive Democrats called for local governments to slash funding to their police departments, arguing those funds should be reallocated to programs funding mental health, education and anti-poverty programs. Those efforts were largely unsuccessful and rejected by more mainstream Democrats.

Murkowski issued a warning to her fellow Republicans about their stance on law enforcement.


“We can’t get to a place where justice is in the eye of the beholder, that only if it works for me that justice is fair. We need to believe in the integrity of our institutions and unfortunately, this rhetoric does nothing to uphold the integrity and credibility [of the justice system],” she said.

Newsweek reached out to Murkowski’s office via email for further comment.

Murkowski Taking Law and Order ‘More Seriously’ Than Other Republicans: Expert

Robert Y. Shapiro, a professor of political science at Columbia University, told Newsweek that Murkowski’s remarks show she is taking issues of law and order “much more seriously” than other Republicans, who he said would be “thinking differently if the federal authorities were going after a Democratic politician.”

“Given that this is a law and order issue, it is ironic that Republicans who are first in line to oppose defunding the police would want to defund the federal police,” Shapiro said. “This makes them hypocritical on law and order issues simply because they are following in lock-step with Donald Trump who has opposed the federal authorities who have gone after him for alleged federal wrong-doing.”

Shapiro noted that the public generally opposes both efforts to defund the police and federal law enforcement.


While many Republicans have come to Trump’s defense amid the indictment, Murkowski said the charges against the ex-president are “quite serious and cannot be casually dismissed” in a statement released the day of his arraignment, also noting he is “innocent until proven guilty.”

“Mishandling classified documents is a federal crime because it can expose national secrets, as well as the sources and methods they were obtained through. The unlawful retention and obstruction of justice related to classified documents are also criminal matters. Anyone found guilty – whether an analyst, a former president, or another elected or appointed official – should face the same set of consequences,” Murkowski wrote.

Murkowski was one of the seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment following the January 6, 2021, riot at the United States Capitol, when a mob of his supporters, allegedly motivated by his unfounded election fraud claims, violently protested the 2020 presidential results.

Published: 2023-06-19 23:09:37


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