Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) ripped into Attorney General Merrick Garland over his recent testimony, arguing that at least some of what he said before the Senate had been misleading at best and at worst, outright “false.”
Hawley sent a letter to Garland’s office on Tuesday morning, sharing it publicly in a tweet.
“Merrick Garland told me — under oath — the FBI was not targeting Catholic parishes. That appears to have been a lie,” the Missouri senator tweeted. “I want the truth.”
Merrick Garland told me – under oath – the FBI was not targeting Catholic parishes. That appears to have been a lie. I want the truth 👇 pic.twitter.com/HE8ncapeYz
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 11, 2023
In the letter, Hawley referenced Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in early March and argued that, since that appearance, evidence had come to light refuting some of the claims that the attorney general had made at the time.
“I went on to ask you whether the Department was ‘cultivating sources and spies in Latin mass parishes and other Catholic parishes around the country.’ And again, your response could not have been clearer: ‘No, the Justice Department does not do that. It does not do investigations based on religion,'” Hawley wrote.
“Finally, I asked you ‘how many informants do you have in Catholic churches across America?’ You denied the claim a third time: ‘I don’t know, and I don’t believe we have any informants aimed at Catholic churches.’ All of this was false, as recent investigative findings by the House Judiciary Committee show,” Hawley continued.
Hawley concluded by turning on Garland directly, adding, “Let’s be clear: your Department has decided to turn Catholic congregations into front organizations for the FBI, and when asked about it, you’ve decided to fudge the truth before Congress. This is an unconscionable assault on American Catholics’ First Amendment rights and an abdication of your duty to enforce the law without fear or favor.”
Hawley’s letter comes alongside a report from the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government – and a letter from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to FBI Director Christopher Wray — indicating that the Bureau had used “at least one undercover agent” to spy on Catholic parishioners in Virginia.