Attorney General Merrick Garland was interrogated by the House Judiciary Committee today. He declined to answer many questions. He could not remember if he spoke with FBI personnel about the investigation of Hunter Biden. He did not know the number of confidential informants who entered th4e Capitol on January 6, 2021. He had to be forced to answer if Catholics are “violent extremists.” Fred Lucas shared seven takeaways from the hearing in his article in The Daily Signal.
1. ‘Traditional Catholics Are Violent Extremists? Yes or No?’
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., brought up the January memo out of the FBI field office in Richmond, Virginia, detailing plans to spy on American Catholics. The leaked memo said, “radical traditionalist Catholics” had the potential to become “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.” …
Van Drew again asked: “Are they extremists or not, Attorney General?”
Garland responded: “Everything in that memo is appalling.”
[Notice how he could not answer a yes or no question?]
2. ‘Don’t Recollect’ Personal Contact
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., asked about who the attorney general has talked to regarding his department’s investigation of Hunter Biden for failing to file income tax returns reflecting all his overseas business dealings, including in China and Ukraine, and for drug-related gun offenses. That probe began in 2018, during the Trump administration.
“Has anyone from the White House provided direction at any time to you personally or to senior officials at the DOJ regarding how the Hunter Biden investigation was to be carried out?” Johnson asked.
Garland answered, “No.”
From there, the attorney general’s answer became sketchier….
3. ‘Defunding the FBI’ Would Be ‘Catastrophic’
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, brought up the fact that some Republican lawmakers had called for shutting down the FBI. They did so in protest of what they saw as unequal treatment of Americans under the law, including the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home in August 2022.
“What would be the impact on America of defunding the FBI?” Nadler asked Garland.
The attorney general sounded alarms about such a move.
“Defunding the FBI would leave the United States naked to the maligned influence of the Chinese Communist Party, the attacks by Iranians on American citizens, attempts to assassinate former officials, up to Russian aggression, to North Korea cyberattacks, to violent crime in the United States, which the FBI helps to fight against,” Garland said….
4. About Weiss: ‘What Changed?’
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, noted that Weiss at one point wanted to bring charges against Hunter Biden in the District of Columbia, but U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves declined to cooperate….
Jordan also asked, “What changed?” in the time between the July 10 letter to Graham in which Weiss said he didn’t ask to be named a special counsel and Garland’s Aug. 11 announcement appointing Weiss as special counsel.
“Several days before my announcement, Mr. Weiss had asked to become special counsel,” Garland testified. “He explained that he had reached the stage in his investigation where he thought that appropriate.”
Jordan sarcastically referenced the launch of the Hunter Biden investigation in 2018.
“After five years, what stage are we in?” the Ohio Republican asked. “Are we in the beginning stage, the middle stage, the end stage, the keep-hiding-the-ball stage?”
Garland responded: “This one I would go back to the videotape, where I said I’m not permitted to discuss ongoing investigations.”
Jordan retorted: “Isn’t that convenient.”
“Something changed in 31 to 32 days from July 10 to Aug. 11,” Jordan added. “I think it’s two brave whistleblowers came forward and a judge called BS on the plea deal….”
5. ‘People Don’t Pay Bribes to Not Get Something’
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., suggested that the Biden Justice Department’s decision to close the Trump administration’s China Initiative, which since 2018 had investigated Chinese espionage in the U.S., correlated with millions of dollars from Chinese sources going to the Biden family.
Gaetz asked the attorney general: “What was the China Initiative dissolved?”
Garland replied that China isn’t the only source of espionage and other attacks.
“We face attacks from four nation-states: North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran, and we need to focus our attention on the broad range of these attacks,” Garland said.
[Question: Why is America doing business with the four nation-states?]
Gaetz seemed to scoff.
“Are you saying that North Korea has the same malign influence risk to the United States as the Chinese Communist Party?” Gaetz asked the attorney general. “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….”
“It’s like you’re looking the other way on purpose, because everybody knows this stuff is happening. But people don’t pay bribes to not get something in return,” Gaetz told Garland.
“The China Initiative resulted in the convictions of a Harvard professor, of someone at Monsanto,” the Florida Republican said. “So we were working against the Chinese. They paid the Bidens. Now you are sitting here telling me that North Korea is the big threat?”
6. ‘Agents and Assets’ at Capitol Riot? ‘Don’t Know’
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., asked Garland whether any confidential informants were involved in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
“How many agents or assets of the government were present on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 and agitating in the crowd to go into the Capitol, and how many went into the Capitol?” Massie asked. “Can you answer that now?”
Garland replied: “I don’t know the answer to that question.”
Massie then asked: “You don’t know how many there were, or there were none?” Garland affirmed his lack of knowledge….
Massie said he didn’t believe the attorney general.
“I think you may have just perjured yourself [by saying] that you don’t know that there were any,” the Kentucky Republican said. “Do you want to say that again, that you don’t know there were any? …
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Ray Epps, a man seen on video telling protesters to enter the Capitol before the riot, on charges of disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds.
Some politicians and pundits have questioned why Epps had not been charged earlier, and whether he was a confidential informant….
You are putting people away for 20 years for merely filming [during the Capitol riot]. Some people weren’t even there yet. You’ve got the guy on video who is saying, ‘Go into the Capitol.’ He’s directing people to the Capitol before [Trump’s] speech ends. He’s at the site of the first breach. You’ve got all the goods on him. And it’s an indictment for a misdemeanor? The American public isn’t buying it.
7. ‘That Goes Right to the White House’
Jordan pressed Garland on why Justice Department prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden allowed the statute of limitations to expire for tax charges.
Such charges would have stretched back to the younger Biden’s time on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that paid him $50,000 a month while his father was vice president.
As vice president, Biden oversaw the Obama administration’s policy on Ukraine. “They made an intentional decision to say we’re going to let the statute of limitations lapse,” Jordan told Garland. “I want to know who decided that and why they did it.
Garland punted the answer to Weiss….
Jordan responded that everyone knows the answer.
“Those tax years involved the president. It’s one thing to have a gun charge in Delaware. That doesn’t involve the president of the United States,” Jordan said. “But Burisma, oh my, that goes right to the White House. We can’t have that.”