Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) is calling on the FBI to review and reassess its decision to classify the 2017 congressional baseball shooting where Republican lawmakers were targeted during a practice as a “suicide by cop” instead of labeling the incident an act of domestic terrorism.
The Ohio Republican — who was present for the shooting, where House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) sustained life-threatening injuries and several others were injured after left-wing extremist James Hodgkinson shot more than 100 rounds at the members and staff — revealed the FBI’s previously undisclosed conclusion during a recent House Intelligence Committee hearing, where he unveiled what FBI agents told members of the team during a private briefing in the months following the attack.
In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray last week but revealed to reporters on Wednesday, Wenstrup argued the FBI’s determination “defies logic” and noted that the shooter had a list of targets that included GOP members.
“This conclusion defies logic and contradicts the publicly known facts about the perpetrator and the attack. The shooter had an extensive social media record highlighting his hatred of President Trump and Republicans.”
Wenstrup said it was clear Hodgkingson had “murderous intent” and noted the shooter had no way of knowing Scalise’s security detail would be present.
“He was heavily armed, sought cover during the shooting, well over 100 rounds were fired, and the attacker could not have known that then-Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail was present given that they were in an undercover vehicle and in plain clothes. All these facts are inconsistent with a designation of ‘suicide by cop.’”
Wenstrup accused the FBI of failing to conduct a thorough investigation, noting he nor any of his colleagues were interviewed about the attack.
“I am extremely frustrated that the FBI failed to conduct thorough interviews during the initial investigation. After canvassing multiple Members of Congress present during the attack, I am not aware that any of my colleagues present that day were interviewed as witnesses, including me,” he continued.
He noted that both the Department of Homeland Security andthe Office of the Director of National Intelligence both classified the shooting as domestic violent extremism, and requested that not only the initial investigation be reopened, but that a probe into how the FBI reached its conclusion be launched.
“As a member who was present during the attack and the November 2017 briefing, and as a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I request that the FBI Counterterrorism Division promptly review the investigative findings, interview all relevant witnesses, and update, as appropriate, the investigative conclusions — including an internal investigation of how the FBI reached its ‘suicide by cop’ conclusion,” he wrote.
During the hearing, which was first reported by Politico, two Democrats — Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) — echoed Wenstrup’s concerns about the classification. Scalise also weighed in on the matter on social media, asserting he believes the FBI came to the wrong conclusion.
“I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill,” Scalise tweeted on Wednesday. “This was NOT ‘suicide by cop.’ End of story.”