By Kevin Kiley – September 21, 2023
Yesterday was my long-awaited clash with Attorney General Merrick Garland. Several observers noted that Garland became more rattled during our exchange than at any time during the hearing. You can watch the full five-minutes of questioning here.
It was hard to settle on one topic, but in the end I focused on his most sweeping abuse: the infamous memo mobilizing federal law enforcement and counter-terrorism powers to target American parents.
I began by setting Garland up to praise FBI Director Christopher Wray. He readily took the bait, describing Wray as “a person of the highest integrity” who would never give false testimony. I then confronted him with visuals quoting Wray’s testimony that I elicited in July.
While Garland’s pretext for the memo was a “disturbing spike” in “threats,” Wray said this was bogus: there was “no uptick” at all. For that reason, Wray testified, there “no compelling law enforcement justification” for the memo.
With his own FBI Director contradicting him, Garland made the incredible claim that he issued the memo based on “reports in the press.” He then pulled rank on the man he had just glowingly praised, blaring, “the memo is mine, it was my decision.”
Garland then refused 5 times to define the term “chilling effect,” before finally giving the definition: “when peoples’ exercise of First Amendment rights are chilled by coercive activity by the government.” This, of course, was the true purpose of the memo.
The Biden Administration saw the growing parents movement as a force for change and a threat to its own power. Garland thus tried to nip it in the bud. He activated the DOJ and FBI to target parents so they’d be discouraged from participating in the political process.
It is one of the most disgraceful abuses of power in American history and a window into what is driving decision-making at the current Department of “Justice.”
Kevin Kiley is a California Congressman