Could the Trump indictment throw a wrench in FBI headquarters move?

FILE - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters is seen in Washington, Feb. 3, 2012. On Wednesday, March 8, 2023, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and members of the state's congressional delegation renewed their pitch to build a new FBI headquarters in Maryland, criticizing the selection process for a new location as lacking transparency and noting it would cost taxpayers at least $1 billion more to build in Virginia and take longer. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)(AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Some House Republicans, angered by the indictment of former President Donald Trump, are threatening to withhold funding for the FBI and put the brakes on plans for the agency to move out of D.C.

Conservative lawmakers are upset by the FBI’s role in searches for classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Trump has been indicted on 37 counts related to the mishandling of sensitive documents. An indictment charges that he intentionally misled investigators and tried to keep documents that are considered property of the U.S. government.

Congressional supporters of the former president charge that he’s being unfairly held to a double legal standard, though there is also an independent investigation underway involving President Joe Biden and classified documents found at his private home that date back to when he was vice president.

The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has directed his staff to work with the House Appropriations Committee to look into ways that funding could be restricted for the FBI and Justice Department.

The effort comes as the Virginia and Maryland congressional delegations continue to press for a new FBI headquarters to be relocated to their respective states.

Virginia lawmakers contend that a location in Fairfax County should become the FBI’s new home for several reasons, including that it’s close to the agency’s training facility at Quantico.

Maryland lawmakers counter that Prince George’s County would be the best location for a new headquarters. They argue it could be built for less money in their state and that two sites are ready for new development.

Maryland has also proposed sites in Landover and Greenbelt for the new headquarters.

While the two states’ congressional delegations sharply disagree over where the FBI should relocate, Democratic lawmakers are unified in their criticism of Republicans for threatening to cut off money for the move.

“It’s a little wacky,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia. “They are obviously people who have not been to the FBI headquarters.”

Warner and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, both point out that the FBI headquarters in D.C. is in disrepair and literally falling apart. Netting has been installed on the building on Pennsylvania Avenue, to make sure loose concrete from the building doesn’t fall on unsuspecting pedestrians.

“It shows enormous disrespect to the literally thousands of FBI employees, the vast majority of which are completely nonpolitical,” Warner said.

Hoyer has discussed the future of the FBI with Warner, even as they compete to see where the new headquarters will be built.

“We are united in the fact that the Congress has a responsibility to the American people, in terms of their security and their safety and the effectiveness of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to accomplish that objective,” Hoyer said. “It is incumbent on Congress to act, to fund the FBI.”

The struggle over where to move the FBI has been underway for well over a decade.

The General Services Administration has been poring over a set of criteria to make a final decision. That decision could come later this year.

Even if that happens, the construction of a new headquarters would still be years away.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up