GOP readies political heartburn for an FBI it won’t defund

Republicans’ frosty relationship with the FBI hit a breaking point with the agency’s Mar-a-Lago search. They’re readying some 2023 blowback.

The burgeoning one-sided feud is the latest sign of decay in a long-fraught relationship between the FBI and congressional Republicans, despite their claimed mantle of backing law enforcement and continued efforts to broadly paint Democrats as anti-police. Trump and his allies already spent years using the FBI and the Justice Department as go-to villains, with the August search of Mar-a-Lago and subsequent leaks only deepening distrust of the bureau among conservative lawmakers and their base voters.

Democrats are already eager to turn the anti-police moniker on their adversaries. Moderates on their side of the aisle have publicly and privately vented for years about getting stuck with the “defund the police” label, which some thought were to blame for the party’s unexpected 2020 losses.

“We support good policing. The other side is calling to defund the FBI,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs House Democrats’ campaign arm.

“Republicans just want to fund law enforcement if they are propping up the Big Lie,” Jayapal added, referring to the former president’s false claims of widespread voter fraud affecting the 2020 election.

And even fellow conservative lawmakers are pivoting away from the phrase, which divides Republicans and is easily turned into a campaign slogan against their party as they talk up their plans for next year.

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