Attorney General Merrick Garland was savaged on all sides during testimony on Wednesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee with Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) leading the beat down, eviscerating the leftist Biden acolyte over the FBI’s “anti-Catholic bias.”
The FBI dispatched roughly two dozen agents to the home of Mark Houck, an anti-abortion activist and devout Christian, raiding his residence last September and allegedly pointing guns at Houck, his wife, and their seven children. He was charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to use force with the intent to injure, intimidate and interfere with anyone because that person produces reproductive healthcare. He was later acquitted of the charges.
The FBI claims guns were never pointed at the family and were lowered or holstered as soon as Houck was taken into custody.
“Our department protects all religions, all ideologies. It does not have any bias against any religion of any kind,” Garland proclaimed in answer to a question from Hawley on the agency’s alleged “anti-Catholic bias.”
ON FIRE! Must watch. "Yes sir, you are responsible!" pic.twitter.com/FtFfPKA4Jd
— TallTanOne (@TallTanOne) March 2, 2023
Hawley accused the Department of Justice of being quick to deploy resources against Catholics while “turning a blind eye” as people are executed in the streets of American cities.
“Your answer frankly surprises me,” Hawley asserted.
Hawley returned to discussing Houck who allegedly got into an altercation with a Planned Parenthood escort in Philadelphia in October 2021 whom he claimed threatened his son. Houck was accused of pushing a 72-year-old man after he verbally harassed Houck’s 12-year-old son outside the clinic.
Following the arrest of Houck, Hawley sent a letter to Garland claiming that he had turned a “local dispute into a national case,” and lambasted the FBI for executing the search warrant in “extreme a manner as one can imagine.”
I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics – while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished pic.twitter.com/tU1Jwe4c7h
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2022
“Why did the FBI do this?” Hawley demanded of Garland during the hearing. “Why did you send 20-30 SWAT-style agents, SWAT-style team to this guy’s house when everybody else had declined to prosecute and he offered to turn himself in?”
Garland gave the same response to Hawley he gave to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that the FBI on the ground determined how to proceed and that they saw the situation differently than what the senator described.
Garland gets firebombed by Ted Cruzhttps://t.co/cBDqo7tNR8
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) March 2, 2023
Hawley wanted to know if it was “objectively necessary” to send agents with guns and ballistic shields to Houck’s home. Garland deflected, laying the blame on the FBI agents on the ground.
The senator asked Garland if he was “abdicating responsibility” in the matter and Garland denied doing so.
“Then give me the answer. Do you think, in your opinion, you are the attorney general of the United States… you are in charge of the Justice Department and yes, sir, you are responsible. So give me an answer,” Hawley demanded.
Garland waffled, deflected, and did not answer, only claiming it did not happen the way the senator described it.
“What? That the children weren’t there? That there weren’t long guns there? That there weren’t agents? What do you dispute? What’s the factual premise that you dispute?” Hawley angrily asked.
The attorney general then disputed how many agents were on the scene.
“You used an unbelievable show of force with guns that I just note liberals usually decry. We’re supposed to hate long guns and assault-style weapons. You’re happy to deploy them against Catholics and innocent children. Happy to,” Hawley charged. “And then you haul them into court and a jury acquits him in one hour. I suggest to you that is a disgraceful performance by your Justice Department and a disgraceful use of resources.”
Hawley claimed that he “noticed a pattern” and then referred to a January 23 memorandum from the FBI field office in Richmond, Virginia, that called for “the exploration of new avenues for tripwire and source development against traditionalist Catholics.”
Catholics speak out on FBI persecutionhttps://t.co/1upjwCbT22
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) February 17, 2023
“Attorney general, are you cultivating sources and spies in Latin mass parishes and other Catholic parishes across the country?” Hawley asked, grilling Garland on the issue.
“The Justice Department does not do that and does not do investigations based on religion. I saw the document you sent. It’s appalling. It’s appalling. I’m in complete agreement with you. I understand that the FBI has withdrawn it and is looking into how this could ever have happened,” Garland responded.
Garland was asked how many informants the FBI has in Catholic churches across America. He stated, “I don’t know, and I don’t believe we have any informants aimed at Catholic churches. We have a rule against investigations based on First Amendment activity.”
Later he went on to say, “I don’t know specifically” how many sources are embedded in Catholic churches.
Garland was also hit by Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) over siccing FBI and other law enforcement agencies on parents.
(Video Credit: C-SPAN3)
“Didn’t you understand, the chilling effect that it would have to parents when you issued your directive, when you directed your criminal divisions and your counter-terrorism divisions, to investigate parents who are angry at school boards and administrators during Covd-19?” Kennedy asked.
“So, Senator, if you could just give me a moment to full context. I did not do that. I did not issue any memorandum directing the investigation of parents who are concerned about their children,” Garland claimed. “Quite to the contrary, the memorandum that you’re talking about says at the very beginning of the memorandum that vigorous public debate is protected by the First Amendment. And the kind of concerns that you’re talking about are, as expressed by parents are, of course, completely protected.”
“The memorandum was aimed at violence and threats of violence against a whole host of school personnel. It was not aimed at parents making complaints to their school board. And it came in the context of a whole series of other kinds of violence, threats, and violence against other public officials,” he insisted.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) also pointed out to Garland that over a dozen “whistleblowers” have provided “potentially criminal” information about Hunter Biden to the FBI. He demanded that the Justice Department look into the actions of the president’s son.
(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)
“Recent lawfully protected whistleblower disclosures to my office indicate that the Justice Department and FBI had at one time over a dozen sources that provided potentially criminal information relating to Hunter Biden,” Grassley informed Garland.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) also went after Garland over his statement that the Department of Justice doesn’t pursue Antifa terrorists over firebombing pregnancy counseling centers because their actions take place at night. But they do go after anti-abortion protesters because they protest during the day.
And finally, there was another fiery exchange between Sen. Cruz and Garland over the attorney general not taking action against those doxing Supreme Court Justices after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
So @tedcruz just eviscerated AG Merrick Garland for refusing to enforce the law and protect Supreme Court justices. Watch: pic.twitter.com/xCoCit4zbl
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 1, 2023
Garland had a very bad day on Wednesday and Republicans are not done with him yet.
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