Democrat: GOP rep. calling for ‘purge’ needs a history lesson

A Democratic congresswoman says she wants to give one of her Republican colleagues “a history lesson” after he faced criticism for demanding a “purge” at the FBI and Justice Department, warning that it brings back memories of McCarthyism during the Cold War.

During an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Pamela Brown that it was “very frightening” that Florida GOP Rep. Francis Rooney had used that term, and Bass added that she plans to “sit down and talk to him about the McCarthy era” when Congress returns.

Rooney, who made the call earlier in the week, said earlier Wednesday that the FBI should oust individuals who he argued are politically compromised, but he also conceded that purge “might be a pretty strong word.

“I’m not maybe the most nuanced political person in the world.”

Rooney further called for the House Oversight Committee to significantly expand an internal probe that had turned up messages critical of President Donald Trump in an exchange between two FBI officials during the campaign. Those officials temporarily worked as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the Russia investigation.

But Bass pushed back on the earlier “purge” wording.

“The type of purges he’s talking about harkens back to the Cold War, when there was a purge by McCarthy to find communists that were hidden in the federal government,” Bass said. “It sows distrust in our institutions, and I think it is irresponsible, and maybe he needs a history lesson. Maybe that’s what would be helpful in this time period.”

She said it’s “very sad” that Rooney and other Republicans “are laying the foundation for there to be mistrust in the process,” something that the congresswoman claimed Trump is trying to do as well.

“When we had the head of the FBI, when we had the assistant attorney general come before our committee, the entire Republican side of the committee was asking questions along the same lines,” Bass added. “Their talking points were the same. They’re clearly doing this in conjunction and collaboration with the White House, and they are in the White House — as well as in the House — laying the foundation when indictments come to say they are not valid because the investigation was invalid.”

Asked what evidence existed to prove her allegation, Bass said, “It’s sitting and listening to hours and hours of questioning by my colleagues, where their talking points are completely in sync with the White House.”