Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on his fellow Republicans in Congress to slash funding for the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI, one day after pleading not guilty in New York to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
Trump, who is seeking to regain the presidency in 2024, took aim at federal law enforcement authorities even though the criminal charges against him – the first brought against any former or sitting president – were pursued not by them but by the Manhattan district attorney.
But Trump faces two Justice Department criminal investigations led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Both have seemed to accelerate in recent months.
“REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS SHOULD DEFUND THE DOJ AND FBI UNTIL THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES,” Trump wrote on his social media platform. DOJ stands for the Department of Justice
Trump’s proposal is unlikely to be heeded by Congress, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans leading the House of Representatives. It would also be a sharp turn for Republicans, who in the past have supported robust funding for law enforcement and have criticized proposals from some on the left in recent years to “defund” local police departments.
Congressional Republicans have called for sharp federal spending cuts in return for voting to raise the U.S. debt ceiling but have yet to put forward specific proposals.
The FBI, part of the Justice Department, is the U.S. domestic intelligence and security agency. Trump himself appointed the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, after firing its previous chief, James Comey, in 2017.
Trump backed spending increases for the Justice Department while serving as president from 2017 to 2021. Its budget increased 4% during that span to $38.7 billion, White House figures showed.