Last summer, as it became painfully clear that the Trump administration was using Immigration and Customs Enforcement as its own private deportation force, a movement emerged calling to “Abolish ICE.” As Elaine Godfrey pointed out, it wasn’t clear what people meant by that.
Whether Democratic lawmakers are pushing to eliminate the agency completely or simply restructure it still appears to be up for debate. But the big thing, activists told me, is that people are talking about it.
In response, Trump and his enablers mischaracterized the ICE’s mission by suggesting that it had a role in defending our southern border, which is actually the job of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Not many were aware of the fact that ICE was created after 9/11 as part of the newly established Department of Homeland Security. The entire discussion about ICE, therefore, was based on a lack of clarity and incomplete information.
Nevertheless, right wingers took up the call to “Abolish ICE” as another scare tactic to defame their opponents. Some of those same people, however, are now parroting that movement in response to the news that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation to determine if Trump was acting as a Russian asset. They want to “Abolish the FBI.”
Here is “Fox legal analyst” Gregg Jarrett on Sean Hannity’s show Monday evening:
Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett just called for the FBI to be disbanded over reports that they are investigating Trump
"Frankly, it's time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced" pic.twitter.com/szhaOSLOve
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 15, 2019
In addition to saying that the FBI needs to be reorganized and replaced, Jarrett referred to it as a “rogue agency.” But he isn’t the only one. Here is Joel Pollak writing at Breitbart that it’s “time to scrap the FBI and start over.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Monday the FBI’s leadership needed a “vacuum cleaner.” At this stage, that may be too little, too late. The FBI, as such, may never recover the public trust.
The best solution may be to scrap the FBI and start fresh with a reorganized agency under a new name and with an improved commitment to neutrality and accountability.
At this point, the president is sounding more like Huckabee than Jarrett and Pollak.
The rank and file of the FBI are great people who are disgusted with what they are learning about Lyin’ James Comey and the so-called “leaders” of the FBI. Twelve have been fired or forced to leave. They got caught spying on my campaign and then called it an investigation. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2019
As Republican Bob Corker acknowledged, we are currently living under the “tyranny of right-wing media” with this president. If his enablers in the industry continue beating the drum to “Abolish the FBI,” it is only a matter of time before Trump goes there.