Attorney General Merrick Garland, criticized by many on the right for the alleged weaponization of the Department of Justice against conservatives and political enemies of President Biden, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in September of 2023 for a hearing on the state of the Department of Justice and its alleged bias against the right.
As could be predicted, the hearing was fiery and characterized much more by soundbites and explosive allegations than AG Garland coolly or effectively shutting down the allegations, with firebrand GOP congressman Matt Gaetz leading the charge and obliterating Biden’s China stance.
Questioning AG Garland on the China situation and a potentially misplaced emphasis on North Korea, Rep. Gaetz asked, “Are you saying that North Korea has the same malign influence risk to the United States as the Chinese Communist Party. Because here’s what it looks like. It looks like the Chinese gave all this money to the Bidens and then you guys came in and got rid of the China initiative and it was successful. I saw one rationale that you guys got rid of the China initiative because it was racial profiling.”
Responding, Garland argued that North Korea is a “dangerous actor,” saying, “There are a lot of questions that you just asked. Let me start with the first one about North Korea. North Korea is a dangerous actor, both kinetically and with respect to cyber.”
The two then had a contentious back and forth, with Rep. Gaetz snapping, “Answer the question about whether or not you know about all the millions of dollars-” and AG Garland snapping back, “You don’t want me to answer about North Korea.”
Rep. Gaetz fired back, noting that most people know the truth about North Korea and snapping, “I already know the answer, and so does everyone. They’re not the same risk as China. So let’s get on to serious questions and serious answers. Do you know about the money that moved through Rob Walker’ shell companies, yes or no?”
Garland refused to give anything approaching a real or helpful answer to the corruption question, instead telling Rep. Gaetz, “As I have said repeatedly, I have left these matters to Mr. Weiss. I have not intruded. I have not interfered.”
Then, after more back and forth, Rep. Gaetz asked about FBI involvement on January 6 and potential paid informants it had in the rowdy crowd, asking, “I got to get to this one thing on January. So did the FBI lose count of the number of paid informants on January 6?”
AG Garland tried to dodge, saying, “Let me answer your question about China.” Rep. Gaetz tried to hold his feet over the fire, snapping back, “No, I want you to answer this question. I only get 5 minutes. You’ve already sort of I think screwed the pooch on China. On January 6th, did you lose count of the number of federal assets? Did you lose count and order an audit?” AG Garland refused to answer the January 6 question.
The White House criticized the hearing in a statement, with White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations Ian Sams saying, “Extreme House Republicans are running a not-so-sophisticated distraction campaign to try to cover up their own actions that are hurtling America to a dangerous and costly government shutdown. They cannot even pass a military funding bill, … so they cranked up a circus of a hearing full of lies and disinformation with the sole goal of baselessly attacking President Biden and his family.”
He continued, “Don’t be fooled: they want to distract from the reality that their own chaos and inability to govern is going to shut down the government in a matter of days. … These sideshows won’t spare House Republicans from bearing responsibility for inflicting serious damage on the country.”
Watch Gaetz and Garland fight it out here:
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
"*" indicates required fields