Republican Florida Congressman Francis Rooney said Tuesday that the Department of Justice and FBI are "off the rails" and need to "purge" their ranks of agents who aren't loyal to President Trump.
"I’m very concerned that the DOJ and the FBI, whether you want to call it 'deep state' or what, are kind of off the rails,” Rooney said in an interview with MSNBC's Hallie Jackson. "Look at what that Strzok guy was texting. What that Ohr guy with the dossier Clinton oppo research people, and then this McCabe guy's wife takes $600,000 from Clinton related sources while she's running for state senator?"
Rooney referred to the public release of text messages from top FBI official Peter Strzok disparaging the president during and after the election. Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok, one of the FBI's top Russian counterintelligence experts, from the team investigating Trump's alleged ties to Russia after an internal investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general uncovered politically incorrect messages exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Page was also removed from Mueller's team.
"I think the American people have very high standards for government agencies, and to see these kinds of people, like these aforementioned examples... [which are] extremely nerve-wracking for me, and undermine my confidence that the agencies don't respect the Constitution and will put the ends before the means... We've seen a lot of ends before means culture, both out of the Obama administration, from Hillary Clinton with her $84 million of potentially illegal campaign contributions, the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One," the Florida Republican also said. "People need a good clean government."
The MSNBC host asked: "There are those that look at comments like the ones that you’re making and say Republicans are working to essentially try to discredit the Department of Justice and thus discredit the Russia investigations. Is that not what you’re doing?"
"No, I don’t want to discredit them. I just, I would like to see the directors of the agencies purge it and say, look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here," Rooney replied. "Those are the people I want the American people to see and know the good work’s being done, not these people who are kind of the deep state."
"Language like that, congressman, purge?” MSNBC's Jackson asked. “Purge the Department of Justice?”
"Well, I think that Mr. Strzok could be purged, sure," Rooney replied, referring to Peter Strzok, who was revealed to have texted this with regard to FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40."
The president weighed in with comic relief on Twitter regarding McCabe's upcoming retirement:
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017