House GOP plans to punish AG Merrick Garland for alleged partisanship at Justice Department
Republicans are preparing to take on Attorney General Merrick Garland if they win the House majority this year, including mulling impeachment, and several Department of Justice whistleblowers have come forward to help them.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said more than a half dozen whistleblowers have come forward.
“We just need to investigate and get all the facts right now,” Mr. Jordan told The Washington Times, stressing that Republicans have not yet decided on what should be the appropriate action against Mr. Garland. “We’re focused on getting the truth for the American people.”
Republican lawmakers say they are fed up with Mr. Garland for offenses ranging from not enforcing laws against demonstrations at the homes of Supreme Court justices to allegedly using anti-terrorism resources to target parents who speak out at school board meetings.
Other GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee said they are kicking around ideas for holding Mr. Garland accountable including impeachment, contempt charges and slapping restrictions on the department’s funding.
“We’ve got to look into in Garland. We are having conversations,” said a lawmaker who didn’t want to be identified when discussing plans in the formative stages.
He said that Republicans also are well aware of the limits of hearings to produce tangible results, such as the hearings into the Obama administration’s disinformation surrounding the 2012 deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
“A lot of times in the past, with Benghazi and other things, we had big hearings, and then kind of now what?” the lawmaker said. “Right now, what we’re doing is having conversations about what we are going to specifically do to hold him to account.”
“We can have hearings. We can talk about contempt, and we can talk about impeachment, but the best thing we can do is stop funding,” the lawmaker said.
The Times reached out to the Justice Department for comment and did not hear back.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said he would want to see Mr. Garland charged with contempt.
“He should be held to account for his criminal refusal to protect the justices by prosecuting those who are breaking the law,” Mr. Issa said.
Mr. Issa was chairman of the Oversight Committee in 2012 when the Republican majority, along with several Democrats, cited Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. with contempt of Congress over the botched DOJ gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
The Department of Justice predictably declined to prosecute Mr. Holder, underscoring the limitations of a House majority to impact an attorney general of the other party.
Another GOP member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky cautioned that his party might not get the chance to investigate Mr. Garland because America’s top cop might resign if Republicans win the majority in November.
Congress has never impeached an attorney general. However, Democrats called for the impeachment and removal of President Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, in May 2019. Democrats were outraged about reports that special counsel Robert Mueller expressed frustration with how Mr. Barr handled the report from the special counsel’s Trump-Russia collusion probe.
Mr. Garland has suffered withering criticism from Republicans on several fronts. He recently came under fire for delays in investigating more than 50 attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches in recent weeks.
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the left-wing group claiming responsibility for some of the attacks, Jane’s Revenge, should be labeled a “domestic terrorist organization.”
“If you are unwilling to protect Americans from these attacks, you should resign — although, in my opinion, you should resign in any case,” Mr. Cotton wrote in a letter last week to Mr. Garland.
The same day, the FBI announced an investigation into the attacks.
Mr. Garland has yet to respond to demands for the arrests of protesters in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices. The protests targeting conservative justices have been ongoing since a leaked draft opinion showing the high court is poised to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
GOP lawmakers have questioned why Mr. Garland refuses to enforce federal code 18 U.S.C. § 1507 which makes it a felony to picket or parade near a residence of a judge or jury with the intent to influence their decision in a pending case.
The potential for violence came to the fore earlier this month.
Nicholas John Roske, 26, who traveled from California, was arrested on June 8 near Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Maryland home with a handgun, knife and pepper spray, among other weapons, and told police he planned to kill Justice Kavanaugh, according to prosecutors.
The following day, demonstrators were protesting in front of Justice Kavanaugh’s home again without incident.
Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Roske for attempting to murder a Supreme Court justice.