Biden ‘rejects’ FBI funding amid appeals from some Republicans

The pushback marks the White House’s most aggressive response to the FBI’s search to date and comes as other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, sound the alarm over the message amid threats increased against law enforcement.

“Just as President Biden rejects funding for the police, he rejects funding for other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement. exclusively to CNN on Wednesday.

“The President called for increased funding for the police through the COPS program and for the hiring of 100,000 additional officers. He also included more than $10.8 billion for the FBI in his latest budget. women who bravely serve in law enforcement to keep all of us safe deserve the resources and support they need to do their job – without seeing their budgets cut,” he said.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain blasted calls for FBI funding as “a reckless and irresponsible idea,” in an interview on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” on Wednesday.

The statements come as GOP calls for FBI funding intensified last week, signaling Trump’s grip on his party. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Paul Gosar of Arizona each posted the sentiment on their social media accounts, and Greene is selling $30 hats and t-shirts with the slogan.

It sounds like a tactic adopted by some progressive Democrats who campaigned to strip police funding in response to police brutality as the Black Lives Matter movement gained national momentum. Biden has consistently distanced himself from that position, reiterating his support for law enforcement during the campaign trail and since taking office.

“We Republicans had pushed back very successfully and had a very strong message against the Democrats on many issues. But the Democrats pushing a message of defunding the police message was something that was really, obviously strong for the Democrats. And now because of a few Republicans — not all of them, but enough of them — who said defund and destroy and stuff like that, they’ve allowed the Democrats to really get off the mat on this. and to have some momentum,” former Republican National Committee communications director Doug Heye, a CNN contributor said.

Other Republicans also warned against the message, anticipating dissonance with voters ahead of the midterm elections from a party that has aligned itself heavily with law enforcement.

“I just want to remind my fellow Republicans that we can hold the AG accountable for the decision they made without attacking FBI law enforcement,” former Vice President Mike Pence said during an interview. an event in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

“The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal, state and local levels and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as bad as calls to defund the police,” Pence added.

Pence’s comments echo Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas, who told Axios last week: “I’m impressed that the Democrats finally got us to say, ‘Defund the FBI.’ It makes you sound unserious when you start talking like that.”

And Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called the statements in favor of defunding law enforcement “outrageous.”

The FBI is investigating an ‘unprecedented’ number of threats to office personnel and property following the Mar-a-Lago raid, including some against officers listed in court records as involved in the recent search, according to a police source. told CNN last week.

The bureau, along with the Department of Homeland Security, also issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of “violent threats” to federal law enforcement, courts, and government personnel and facilities.

On Tuesday, an organization representing thousands of retired FBI special agents denounced the attacks on the office and called on government leaders to condemn the efforts.

“Unfounded and reckless attacks on the men and women of the FBI as they pursue [their] mission is both dangerous and unacceptable,” the Society of Former FBI Special Agents said in a statement. the leaders of this country.”

Klain told CNN that “everyone should be concerned about the possibility of violence, about threats against law enforcement.”

“The President has made it very clear that threats of political violence have no place in our country. They had no place in our country on January 6, they have no place in our country, all days since then, they have no place in our country if directed against law enforcement at any time. [Biden’s] position on political violence is very clear, and we are certainly not for funding the FBI,” he said.

After an attempted attack on an FBI field office last week in Cincinnati, Ohio, Vice President Kamala Harris condemned attacks on law enforcement and similar political rhetoric.

“It is simply highly irresponsible for anyone who calls themselves a leader and certainly anyone who represents the United States of America to engage in rhetoric in the name of a political objective that could harm officers and agents responsible for law enforcement,” she told reporters on board. Airforce 2.

This story has been updated with additional reaction.

CNN’s Josh Campbell, Jessica Schneider, Donie O’Sullivan, Paul P. Murphy, Priscilla Alvarez and Alex Rogers contributed to this report.

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