Latest News 12-12-2022 23:02 10 Views

GOP signals investigations, possible subpoenas on COVID origin, domestic extremism monitoring: Rep. Turner

Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence are signaling to the Biden administration that they will open investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and the intelligence community's surveillance of domestic extremism when they take control of the House next year.

Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, told Fox News Digital that there was 'unanimous' bipartisan support for two 'resolutions of inquiry' to the administration that were approved in committee last week.

The first resolution of inquiry relates to an administration review of the origins of COVID-19, which resulted in both a classified and an unclassified report. Several committee lawmakers worry the unclassified report does not accurately reflect information outlined in the classified version, and members are asking the administration to explain differences in the reports. Turner and his colleagues have sent 27 letters to the Biden administration demanding answers on this and none have been answered, which he calls a 'grave concern.'

The second resolution is related to a March 2021 Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) public report on the threat of 'domestic violent extremism.' According to Turner, he has sent 19 letters on the topic asking for additional information and all have gone unanswered.

'These are areas where it's indefensible that the administration is not answering, and we'll be letting them know that absent their compliance, we will be following these up with subpoenas,' Turner said.

The congressman said the Biden administration is 'well aware' of the unanimous vote in committee, which sends a 'clear signal' that lawmakers will not stop pressing until they receive answers.

'The administration, though, is well aware of the actions taken by the committee. And that's the important step, is that we have sent to the Biden administration a clear signal that on a unanimous basis there is support for in answering these inquiries. And from that, they can understand my commitment that as we go into the next Congress, we will pursue all authorities to compel their answer,' said Turner.

'Both of these are based upon reports from the Biden administration that involve the intelligence community and, therefore, are in our jurisdiction,' explained the ranking member.

Turner also noted that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was founded in order to 'stop the intelligence community from violating American's constitutional rights.'

'Our goal here is that we believe that they're probably overstepping the bounds of their statutory authorities to pursue foreign actors and foreign intelligence. And if there are loopholes or areas in which they're pursuing American citizens that are either ambiguous or areas that we believe that they're actually violating the intention of the authorities they have, we'll change the laws,' he said.

The congressman also pointed out that the 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act included a provision requiring that the director of national intelligence provide an annual report on 'any domestic activities that the intelligence community was undertaken.'

However, the deadline of June 13 passed and Congress has yet to receive the legally required report by ODNI.

'These are the two that we had absolute bipartisan and bicameral support. And it was very important to get that on the record and transmit it to the administration as we look to our investigation next year,' he continued.

The two resolutions of inquiry will be formally referred to the House floor and placed on the calendar Tuesday, but it would be up to Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on whether to put up for a vote.

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