Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) lambasted members of his own party — including President Donald Trump — on Thursday for spreading unfounded conspiracy theories about members of the FBI. And, he said, it is time for Trump, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), and others to “cease and desist” these attacks on U.S. law enforcement.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Dent was asked by co-anchor Willie Geist about claims by Johnson and other congressional Republicans that there is a “secret society” in the FBI scheming to mount a coup d’etat against President Trump. The allegations appear to be based on a sarcastic joke between two FBI agents.
“No, I don’t believe there is an Illuminati at the FBI,” Dent responded.
“We have been the party, traditionally, of law enforcement at the state and local level and also at the federal level. We were mortified a couple years ago when many on the far left were launching these attacks against police. Now here we are, as a party, trying to brand oursevles as somehow suggesting that the men and women of the FBI are not as professional as they ought to be. We need to get behind law enforcement, show some respect here, and move away from these conspiracy theories.”
Dent then noted that this is a Republican administration and that the FBI and Department of Justice are being run by Trump appointees, and still Trump has launched a series of Twitter attacks on the Bureau.
“I’ve never heard of an administration, a president attacking his own government. But that’s essentially what’s happening. And I think my colleagues ought to cease and desist from some of this rhetoric against our law enforcement officials who are very professional and thorough,” he urged.
Dent, who is serving his seventh term in the House of Representatives and has announced he will not seek an eighth, is a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
Johnson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, reportedly “walked back” his claims on Wednesday, vowing to focus instead on the important business of investigating “the Clinton email scandal.”