OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:08 PM – Thursday, September 21, 2023
For six hours, Attorney General Merrick Garland answered questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee on the alleged politicization of the Justice Department (DOJ) under his direction.
On Wednesday, the hearing on Capitol Hill started at 10:00 a.m. and lasted until the afternoon.
Republicans questioned Garland about his role in the Hunter Biden probe as they led an impeachment investigation against President Joe Biden and looked into claims of corruption within the Biden family.
Garland maintained that he is not “the president’s lawyer” and that the DOJ’s “job is to follow the facts and the law, and that is what we do.”
“I promised the Senate that I would not interfere… I would not influence the investigation,” Garland said. “I do not intend to discuss internal Justice Department deliberations, whether or not I had them.”
Garland also said throughout the opening hours of his testimony that he never discussed the matter with special counsel David Weiss and that the prosecutor had all the resources required to carry on the lengthy inquiry into President Biden’s son.
However, whistleblowers claimed in testimony before Congress that Weiss had asked the Justice Department for special counsel authority in 2022 but had been turned down.
Garland finally gave Weiss the authority back in August.
“Mr. Weiss asked to be made special counsel. I had promised that I would give him all the resources he needed, and I made him special counsel,” Garland testified Wednesday.
Hunter’s business dealings with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings were highlighted by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who also pointed out that the DOJ had allowed the statute of limitations to expire on any possible tax crimes Hunter may have committed while he was a board member of that business.
Hunter Biden was under investigation by the DOJ for failing to file his taxes in 2014 and 2015, the years he sat on the board. Hunter Biden specifically failed to disclose “approximately $400,000” in income from his membership on the board of Burisma Holdings at the time.
However, Garland deflected from answering Jordan’s questions directly and changed the topic to discuss upcoming statements by Weiss.
“Mr. Weiss was the supervisor of the investigation at that time and at all times,” Garland said. “He made the appropriate decisions. You’ll be able to ask him that question.”
“We all know why they did it,” Jordan said. “Everyone knows why they did it—those tax years that involved the president. It’s one thing to have a gun charge in Delaware. That doesn’t involve the President of the United States. But Burisma? Oh, my, that goes right to the White House.”
Jordan was alluding to details that House Republicans learned through their probe into allegations of corruption against Joe Biden and his ties to his son’s business affairs.
Garland and Representative Jefferson Van Drew (R-N.J.) also got into a heated discussion about how the Justice Department handled inquiries against Catholic and pro-life organizations.
“Do you agree that traditional Catholics are violent extremists, yes or no?” Van Drew asked, referring to the anti-Catholic memo that circulated in the FBI and led to agents going undercover at Catholic churches. “Attorney General … I ask you do you agree that traditional Catholics are violent extremists?” Van Drew repeated himself.
“I have no idea what ‘traditional’ means here,” Garland said before becoming enraged. “The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion is so outrageous – so absurd that you would ask me that question.”
“It was your FBI that did this. It was your FBI that was sending – and we have the memos, we have the emails – undercover agents into Catholic churches,” Van Drew maintained.
“Both I and the director of the FBI have said that we were appalled by that memo,” Garland responded.
Republican Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas), questioned Garland on whether the Justice Department has ceased allegedly singling out parents at school board meetings and members of well-known pro-life organizations.
Roy emphasized that the DOJ had prosecuted 126 cases of alleged crimes by pro-life groups but only four instances of alleged crimes by pro-choice groups throughout Garland’s tenure.
Roy next went to the example of Mark Houck, a pro-life campaigner who was detained by highly armed FBI agents “in front of his wife and children.” Houck faced 11 years in prison for demonstrating outside an abortion clinic, but he was later acquitted.
Additionally, Roy mentioned that the jury in Houck’s case only deliberated for an hour before finding him not guilty. Then he inquired as to the reason why his agency expended taxpayer money on such a matter.
“The Justice Department respects the jury’s verdict. The accusations in that case were made by agents and prosecutors on the ground,” Garland responded.
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