By Joseph Lord
The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) are under fire after the USCP inspector general opened an investigation into allegations that the department illegally entered the offices of GOP members of Congress, interviewed GOP staffers, and took photos of documents that were protected under congressional rules.
In a Twitter thread, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) alleged that his office was one of several GOP offices that had been illegally entered and searched by the USCP.
“The Capitol Police Intelligence Division investigated my office illegally and one of my staffers caught them in the act,” Nehls opened the thread.
“On November 20th, 2021, Capitol Police entered my office without my knowledge and photographed confidential legislative products protected by the Speech and Debate clause enshrined in the Constitution, Article 1 Section 6,” Nehls continued.
“Two days later on Monday November 22, 2021 (Thanksgiving week), three intelligence officers attempted to enter my office while the House was in recess.”
The USCP, Nehls said, “never informed myself or senior level staff of their investigation and the reasons are clear. They had no authority to photograph my office, let alone investigate myself or members of my staff.
“So, why is the Capitol Police Leadership maliciously investigating me in an attempt to destroy me and my character?”
Nehls suggested an answer to the rhetorical question: “Maybe it is because I have been a vocal critic of [Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)], the January 6th Committee, and [USCP] leadership about their handling of January 6th, the death of Ashli Babbitt and the subsequent SHAM investigation.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) commented on a retweet of the thread, “This must be investigated fully—and there must be consequences. Also—who knew about this, and when did they know it?”
The investigation was opened at the request of USCP Chief J. Thomas Manger.
In a letter to seven GOP lawmakers, Manger denied the allegations that the USCP’s search and seizure of documents and other information from Republicans was illegal, but marketed the inspector general investigation as a safeguard.
“While I am confident in our methods, I am asking the USCP Office of the Inspector General to review the USCP’s programs related to these security assessments to assure both this Committee, the Congress as a whole, and the public that these processes are legal, necessary, and appropriate,” Manger wrote.
The request came after Nehls found USCP agents snooping in his office, and Manger’s request likely arose in part from this discovery.
In a statement, Manger defended the actions of the USCP.
Manger wrote, “The United States Capitol Police is sworn to protect Members of Congress. If a Member’s office is left open and unsecured, without anyone inside the office, USCP officers are directed to document that and secure the office to ensure nobody can wander in and steal or do anything else nefarious.
“The weekend before Thanksgiving, one of our vigilant officers spotted the Congressman’s door was wide open. That Monday, USCP personnel personally followed up with the Congressman’s staff and determined no investigation or further action of any kind was needed.
“No case investigation was ever initiated or conducted into the Representative or his staff,” Manger claimed.
Manger replaced former USCP Chief Steven Sund in the wake of the Jan. 6 rally at the behest of Speaker Pelosi. On various occasions, Sund has said that he asked Pelosi appointed Capitol officials to bring in the National Guard on various occasions in advance of the rally, but says that the request was refused each time.
Despite the severity of these allegations, which imply that Pelosi left the Capitol unprepared at a time when tensions were running high, Pelosi admitted on Feb. 3 that she had not given any testimony or documents to the Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 commission.
Republicans, for their part, have vowed to look into Democrats’ missteps ahead of the rally if they take back control of the House in November.
In a press release, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) alleged that President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) was mixed up in the scandal as well.
Gohmert said that in January, he had received mail that was already opened and bore the stamp “DOJ MAILROOM” and “X-RAYED.” Gohmert argued that this search of his mail constituted a violation of the Constitution “since Congressional mail is constitutionally protected under the Speech and Debate Clause.”
“This is felonious behavior,” Gohmert ruled.
Referencing the allegations against the USCP, Gohmert said, “the Democrat’s spying on political opponents appears to know no end.”
He added, “The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Department of Justice cannot even use a search warrant to search a Representative’s mail and office.”
“We want answers to this outrage,” Gohmert concluded, “not excuses.”
The bombshell discoveries are likely to be a key Republican focus in future investigations if they take back the House in November.
The DOJ could not be immediately reached for comment on Gohmert’s allegations.