CAPITOL HILL - One of the first things the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives did as it gaveled in was to create a new panel dedicated to investigations.
The Weaponization of Government Select Subcommittee vows to act as a check on ongoing Department of Justice investigations.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) named 12 Republicans to the subcommittee established as part of the negotiations that helped secure him the speaker's gavel.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will be leading the effort.
"You think about in the last couple of years, every right we enjoy as Americans under the First Amendment has been attacked: Your right to practice your faith; your right to assemble; your right to petition the government; freedom of the press; freedom of speech," Jordan told CBN News.
The Ohio Republican sees the new panel focusing on the Justice Department, the FBI, and other agencies that he believes have gone after conservative Americans under the Biden administration.
The committee will have wide-ranging authority. Jordan lists the treatment of parents by school boards, social media censorship, and investigations into former President Donald Trump as likely issues on the docket.
"We don't want a political Justice Department. If you have a political Justice Department, this great country, the greatest country ever...America is not America if you have a Justice Department that is political," Jordan said. "And that's scary, and so many Americans think it is. You've seen the different treatment of Trump compared to how Clinton and Biden were treated. You see it time and time again."
To Democrats, the new committee is an opportunity for Republicans to air grievances partly because of how the Democrat-led the Jan. 6 Committee that carried out its investigation into Trump's role in the post-election riot.
"It's my expectation that we will be actively involved in pushing back against any efforts to obstruct justice through the Weaponization Subcommittee, or to protect 'insurrectionists' through the Weaponization of Government Subcommittee," said House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
Jordan said the work won't be about revenge.
"They made it personal. We're making it about the American people. We think there should be equal justice and equal treatment under the law. We think that's a hallmark of our system. We think you should not favor one political persuasion over the other," he said.
"When you have pro-life activists exercising their constitutional right, they should have the same treatment as anybody on the left. But we don't see that," the Ohio congressman noted.
Democrats are expected to have nine members on the committee - the Republicans 12. Jeffries said those members will be named soon.