Merrick Garland’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday was a spectacular, if depressing, confirmation of something any sentient observer had noticed long ago: that the Department of Justice, and its head, Attorney General Garland, are horribly, egregiously compromised.
The outcome or upshot? That Garland should be impeached and removed from office and the DOJ itself should be put into the political equivalent of Chapter 11 so that its management can be replaced and its activities reorganized.
As I say, this has long been obvious to any sentient observer. But Wednesday’s testimony put meat on the bones of this impending repudiation. Several Republicans put hard questions to the attorney general. Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky deserves special mention for his exchange with the ghoulish AG.
Massie played a video of the back-and-forth he had with Garland two years before. Were there, Massie wanted to know, any government agents in the crowd at the Capitol on January 6? Oh, there is an “ongoing investigation,” quoth Garland, so of course I cannot answer.
Well, that was then, said Massie. How about now? Can you now tell Congress whether there were any government agents in the crowd on January 6? “I don’t know the answer to that question,” said Garland. “If there were any, I don’t know how many. I don’t know whether there are any.”
“I think you may have just perjured yourself, that you don’t know that there were any,” replied Massie. “You want to say that again, that you don’t know if there were any?”
Garland clearly had absorbed the age-old advice for tyrants that, if you are going to lie, make it a big lie. He began by saying that, “We apply the same laws to everyone. There is not one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless. . . . One for Democrats, and another for Republicans.”
He said it with a straight face, too.
Hunter Biden was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, as we all know, there are scores, nay, hundreds of people that Garland’s FBI has raided and jailed for being Catholic or pro-life, for protesting at their local school boards, for wandering around the Capitol without an “Our Democracy™” hall pass.
Hunter Biden was not physically present at the testimony, but he was there in spirit. How is it that someone who has behaved so badly — with respect to taxes, drugs and guns — should have been accorded such favorable treatment?
Oh, we have a special counsel, David Weiss, who is looking into all that, said Garland. And by the way, he said with “damnable iteration,” David Weiss was appointed by President Trump.
“Yeah, so?,” you might be thinking, and you would be right to do so. Garland kept reminding everyone that Weiss was appointed by President Trump as if that dispensed with the question of his competence or loyalty.
It doesn’t. As the New York Post’s Miranda Devine tartly noted, “Practically every answer Garland gives about the DOJ’s Hunter Biden debacle is that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss is a ‘Trump appointee.’ Garland seems to think that absolves him of any responsibility for Weiss’s conduct. Curious he thinks bias can be ascribed to prosecutors depending on which party appoints them. Presumably he applies that logic to himself, a Biden appointee. Got it.”
But the real star of the day, I think, was Representative Victoria Spartz from Indiana. The Ukrainian-born Congresswoman gave a passionate, indeed an electrifying performance. In good, but heavily accented, English, she gave a brief, emotional speech that built from quiet statement to a crescendo of pained incrimination.
Garland had begun his remarks by noting that his grandparents had hailed from Belarus, a totalitarian backwater. She herself had come from the Soviet Union. She knew what it meant to be afraid of one’s government. Did AG Garland not know that more and more people in the United States are afraid of his police-state apparat with its dawn raids and smearing of ordinary citizens as domestic extremists?
“Are you aware,” she asked, “that a lot of Americans are now afraid of being prosecuted by your department?”
Garland replied: “I think that the constant attacks on the department and saying . . .”
“It’s not the attacks,” intervened Spartz, and she was right.
Here’s what happens in Garland’s DOJ. His FBI, like a personal Stasi, surveils, attacks, and jails people. When the people object, Garland gets on his high cheval and complains that people are attacking “Our Democracy™” and the rule of law.
Spartz was having none of it.
Maybe some people who came to the Capitol on January 6 were bad actors, she acknowledged. But many, most, were there because they were “sick and tired of this government not serving them.” They came with children and strollers. The response? Smoke bombs, rubber bullets and thuggish, police-state behavior.
Spartz gets it. Where was the security for the Capitol? President Trump had suggested the National Guard be mobilized. Nancy Pelosi said no. Clearly, she wanted a melée. “People are truly afraid,” said Spartz, and with good reason. The behavior of Garland’s DOJ is “like the KGB.”
Yes, it is.
“You have a nice playbook,” she said. First, you hide behind a special counsel. “I can’t answer any questions,” preens Garland, “because we have an ongoing investigation.” But then his department slow walks the investigations of friends of the regime: Hillary Clinton, Hunter Biden, the whole FBI bureaucracy involved in the Russia Collusion Delusion.
You were very quick to indict Donald Trump, Spartz pointed out, but slow-walked everything else. Why? Because the statute of limitations loomed on many offenses.
Spartz even had a few amusing comments: “all your agents need to be tested for amnesia,” she suggested. Who can forget James “Higher Loyalty” Comey saying he couldn’t recall 245 times in one afternoon?
No one, Spartz concluded, is being held accountable. It is “egregious.” Indeed. “I couldn’t believe that it happened in the United States of America,” she said. But that’s because she still believes the country she adopted still exists. It doesn’t. Disgusting deep-state operatives like Merrick Garland killed it.