LAS VEGAS – FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Ted Cruz slammed the Biden administration, saying it has “thoroughly politicized and weaponized” the Justice Department, while telling Fox News that the appointment of a special counsel to investigate former President Trump is “absolutely disgraceful.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed former Justice Department official Jack Smith to the role of special counsel to investigate the entirety of the criminal probe into the retention of presidential records held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Smith will also oversee the DOJ’s investigation into the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Cruz, R-Texas, during an interview with Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the Republican Jewish Coalition annual conference in Las Vegas, slammed the appointment and warned of the Biden administration’s plans to “indict” the former president.
“The Biden Department of Justice is thoroughly politicized and weaponized,” Cruz told Fox News Digital. “This is camouflage designed to set up the next step — which is the Biden Department of Justice intends to indict Donald Trump.”
Cruz said this “is the culmination of the deliberate weaponization of law enforcement — this administration views the Department of Justice and the FBI as the enforcers for their partisan priorities.”
“This has never happened in the history of our country,” Cruz said. “We have had 46 presidents and if you go all the way back to George Washington, no administration has ever raided the home of a former president — no administration has ever tried to indict a former president.”
The FBI conducted an unprecedented raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Aug. 8 and seized classified records, including some marked as top secret, according to a warrant and property receipt.
Trump and his legal team have said the records held at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified when Trump was in the White House, but the Justice Department argues that Trump was unlawfully retaining national defense information at his home.
Cruz, though, said that “tragically,” the FBI’s “behavior” is only seen in “banana republics” and in institutions “where there is no rule of law, where law enforcement is viewed simply as a political weapon by whoever is in charge at the moment.”
“But America — our institutions had been strong enough to prevent that,” Cruz said. “Historically, the Department of Justice and the FBI have been strong enough to resist it, but under Biden, they now have hard partisans who burrowed into senior career positions who are willing to abuse law enforcement.”
Cruz, who recently released his new book “Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System,” told Fox News Digital that the special counsel appointment “is an abuse of our justice system.”
But Cruz said “unfortunately, elections have consequences,” saying the Senate, without the majority, will not have subpoena power or the ability to hold certain hearings featuring top Justice Department officials without support of the Democrats.
“I could tell you 100% that we would have hearings with the attorney general, with the head of the FBI, examining and uncovering the deep and pervasive politicization and corruption of our justice system,” Cruz explained.
“But under Joe Biden and Democrats, unfortunately, Democrats kept a majority in the Senate, and the chances that Senate Democrats want to even examine this are 0.0%,” Cruz said. “We will see what we have seen for the last two years — which is a persistent cover-up by Senate Democrats of the abuse of power by the Biden administration.”
But Cruz said “the good news” is that Republicans control the House of Representatives.
“I am confident that the House will hold these investigations,” Cruz said, noting he works “closely with the House.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee who is expected to serve as chairman of the panel in the next Congress when Republicans take the majority, is already seeking voluntary testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and more than a dozen other officials and employees as the committee ramps up its investigations into alleged politicization at the Justice Department.
Jordan, R-Ohio, just hours before Garland appointed the special counsel to investigate Trump, wrote a letter to Garland and Wray, warning that if officials ignore requests for voluntary compliance, the soon-to-be-led GOP committee “may be forced to resort to compulsory process to obtain the material we require.”
Cruz told Fox News Digital that while the Senate Republicans “can’t issue subpoenas, can’t call a hearing” and “can’t use the course of force of the Senate, they will do what they can to hold officials accountable.”
“In the Senate, we are left with shining a light and explaining to people just how much our fundamental protections are being undermined,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Trump told Fox News Friday after the announcement from the Justice Department that he “won’t partake in” the investigation, and called it “the worst politicization of justice in our country,” while urging the Republican Party to take action.
“I have been going through this for six years — for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore,” Trump told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview Friday. “And I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this.”
“I have been proven innocent for six years on everything — from fake impeachments to [former special counsel Robert] Mueller, who found no collusion, and now I have to do it more?” Trump said. “It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political.”
Trump’s presidency was clouded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether he and his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
After nearly two years, Mueller’s investigation, which concluded in March 2019, yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
“I am not going to partake in it,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “I’m not going to partake in this.”
Trump, who announced his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday, said it is “not even believable.”
“I have never heard of such a thing. They found nothing. I announce, and then they appoint a special prosecutor,” he said. “They found nothing, and now they take some guy who hates Trump. This is a disgrace and only happening because I am leading in every poll in both parties.”
As for Special Counsel Smith, he said Friday that he intends “to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them, independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
“The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch,” Smith said. “I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate.”