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But the long list of political foes that Trump and his allies have said should be prosecuted suggests that they seek not to protect the bureau’s independence, but to turn it into a weapon to wield against their opposition.They are not opposed to politicizing law enforcement; they are demanding it be politicized. The document focuses largely on a dossier compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele on behalf of the firm Fusion GPS, whose account for opposition research on Trump’s Russia ties, first started by anti-Trump Republicans, had been taken on by the Democratic National Committee.Matt Ford has written that in this climate, Democrats “are right to defend the FBI” and its independence.

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They don’t want more restrictions on the ability of the government to eavesdrop on Americans communications without a warrant—in fact Nunes himself supported expanding such powers in January.

Given the bureau’s record under presidents of both parties, that requires both aggressive oversight to guard against abuses and a commitment to maintaining the bureau’s independence from partisan pressure—not reflexive support, nor critiques of partisan bias that only serve to reinforce it.

Republicans have recognized that the FBI is vulnerable—that for the bureau to maintain its reputation as apolitical, it has to make concessions to the right lest it incur the wrath of the conservative base and its conspiratorial imagination.

And that means that whether its agents want to or not, whether they intend to or not, the FBI is slowly becoming the tool of partisan warfare that its defenders claim it must never be.

Which is just how the president who ran a campaign promising to imprison his political rival wants it.

It’s a view that requires casting Republicans like Robert Mueller, President George W.

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