Right-wing Freedom Caucus threatens to shut down government unless DOJ lays off Trump

A bloc of hard-right Republicans released a memo threatening to shut down the government unless the Department of Justice stops its probe of former president Donald Trump.

The House Freedom Caucus released a memo stating their official position as the House begins its negotiations for spending. The US government will run out of money on 30 September.

Congressional leadership has said they would be willing to pass a stopgap spending bill called a continuing resolution so that Congress can pass spending by the end of the fiscal year. The House and Senate are both out of session for the August recess when members return to their home states and districts.

The House Freedom Caucus made a list of specific demands in a paper saying it wanted to return spending to levels before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Therefore, in the eventuality that Congress must reconsider a short-term extension of government funding through a Continuing Resolution, we refuse to support any such measure that continues Democrats’ bloated COVID-era spending and simultaneously fails to to follow the law and fulfill its most basic responsibilities,” the memo said.

House conservatives listed three major demands, including passing a piece of legislation meant to clamp down on illegal immigration and ending “the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon undermining our military’s core warfighting mission”.

But in addition, the Freedom Caucus also wanted to rein in the Justice Department and demanded that Congress “Address the unprecedented weaponisation of the Justice Department and the FBI to focus on them prosecuting real criminals instead of conducting political witch hunts and targeting law abiding citizens”.

Two federal grand juries have indicted the former president, once for his handling of classified documents related to national defence and another for his attempt to defraud the United States through his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In addition, he faces an indictment in New York County for charges related to hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and last week, a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia handed down an indictment to Mr Trump and his allies for their attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.

The House of Representatives in turn set up a select subcommittee on the “weaponisation” of the federal government when Republicans took control of the House earlier this year. Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH), one of the co-founders of the House Freedom Caucus, serves as chairman of the committee.

The Freedom Caucus also said it would oppose attempts to pass short-term extensions until the December deadline to maintain the status quo of spending.

“Lastly, we oppose any blank check for Ukraine in any supplemental appropriations bill,” the memo read.

Many of the House Freedom Caucus, such as Reps Byron Donalds (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) have endorsed Mr Trump for re-election, though Rep Chip Roy (R-TX) endorsed Florida Gov Ron DeSantis and Rep Ralph Norman (R-SC) endorsed the former governor of his state, Nikki Haley.

The House Freedom Caucus has often attempted to include cuts and other conservative priorities into must-pass spending bills, though it has frequently done so to little avail during both Democratic and Republican administrations.