Attorney General Merrick Garland was utterly humiliated on Wednesday by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Garland was grilled over his Oct. 4 memorandum in which he called on the FBI to mobilize against parents who were concerned about what their children were being taught in public schools.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who was at the top of his game, told Garland: “Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court.” He then called on Garland to “resign in disgrace.”
“It’s wrong, it is unprecedented to my knowledge in the history of this country, and I call on you to resign.”
Then, it was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’ turn, and by the end of this exchange, I almost felt sorry for him.
Most of Garland’s activism can be chalked up to being a team player, but he does actually have some skin in the game in the debate over critical race theory being forced into U.S. public school curriculum. His son-in-law, Xan Tanner (not to be confused with Dan Tanna), is the co-founder of Panorama Education, a company that markets critical race theory-based software platforms to school districts throughout the country.
Lest you think Tanner’s company is small potatoes, an article in the “Press” section of the company’s website informs readers that “25 percent of American students are enrolled in a district served by Panorama today.”
TechCrunch reports that the company raised $60 million in new funding to expand the company in September.
Note that one of the “existing backers” is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Priscilla Chan is Mark Zuckerberg’s wife.
Cruz grilled the attorney general about this glaring conflict of interest. He asked Garland repeatedly whether he had “sought an ethics opinion” on the matter, a question he refused to answer. (A full transcript of the exchange can be viewed on Cruz’ website.)
Holding up a copy of Garland’s memo to the FBI, Cruz declared, “This memo was not law. This memo was politics.”
“I’ll tell you what, the NSBA is so embarrassed of this letter, they’ve apologized for it and retracted it, but you don’t apparently have the same willingness to apologize and retract what you did,” Cruz said. “Let me ask you something else. A big part of this letter is that they’re upset about parents not wanting critical race theory taught. Your son-in-law makes a very substantial sum of money from a company involved in the teaching of critical race theory.
“Did you seek and receive a decision from an ethics adviser at the Department of Justice before you carried out an action that would have a predictable financial benefit to your son-in-law?”
In the exchange that ensued, the attorney general refused to answer the question 12 times … yes, 12.
“This memorandum is aimed at violence and threats of violence,” Garland replied.
“I just asked a question. Did you seek an ethics opinion?”
Garland danced around the question each of the 12 times it was asked, in a thoroughly infuriating but all too typical manner.
“[Attorney] General, are you refusing to answer if you sought an ethics opinion?” Cruz pressed.
“I’m telling you that there’s no possible con[flict] … “
“So, you’re saying no. Just answer it directly. You know how to answer a question directly. Did you seek an ethics opinion?”
Finally, Cruz’s time expired. He said, “Let the record reflect the attorney general refuses to answer whether he sought an ethics opinion. And apparently ethics are not a terribly high priority in the Biden Justice Department.”
In addition to establishing that Garland had not sought an ethics opinion regarding his son-in-law’s business interests, Cruz humiliated the attorney general by demonstrating that neither he nor anyone else at the DOJ had bothered to investigate any of the 20 incidents of “intimidation” of school board members by parents before hastily firing off his memo to the FBI.
“Let me ask you something, General Garland. In the letter, which you told the House of Representatives was the basis for this abusive memo targeting parents, how many incidents are cited in that memo?”
“I have to look back through the memo,” Garland replied.
Cruz pressed. “You don’t know. How many of them were violent?”
“Again, the general report … ”
The senator interrupted the attorney general and asked, “How many of them were violent, do you know?”
“I don’t know.”
More back and forth ensued, and Cruz finally summed it up: “Okay. Fifteen of the 20 on the face of it are not violent. They’re not threats of violence. They’re parents who are unhappy. Yet, miraculously, when you write a memo, the opening line of your memo, ‘In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence.’ You know what? You didn’t look, and nobody on your staff looked. Did you even look up the 20 instances?”
Garland replied, “As I testified, the decision to send a memo is for an assessment … ”
He was immediately cut off. Cruz asked, “Did you look up the 20 instances? Did anyone on your staff look them up?”
“I don’t know the answer. But it’s not all of the memo.”
Cruz took his kill shot. “But of course you don’t, and General, there’s a reason. Look, you started your career as a law clerk to Justice Brennan. You’ve had many law clerks during the year, during your time as a judge. I was a clerk to Chief Justice Rehnquist.”
“I’ll tell you what, if I drafted an opinion for the Chief Justice and walked in, and it said there’s a disturbing pattern of violence, ‘Well, Ted, how do you know that?’ ‘Well, I got an amicus brief here who claims it.’ You would fire a law clerk who did that. You’re the attorney general of the United States. This was not a tweet you sent. This is a memo to the Federal Bureau of Investigations saying, ‘Go investigate parents as domestic terrorists.’”
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this; Garland’s disregard for the Constitution is evident in every move he makes.
The DOJ is no longer committed to enforcing U.S. laws. Rather it exists to advance the Biden administration agenda, and it uses its vast powers to punish political adversaries.
The attorney general’s testimony demonstrated once again that his DOJ has picked up right where the Obama DOJ left off. The politicization of the DOJ is nearly complete.
And that is very frightening indeed.
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