Senator Been Sasse (R-NE) joined six other Senate Republicans in calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland to return to Capitol Hill and face additional questions about the Justice Department’s role in addressing tensions between parents and school boards.
Fox News reported:
Seven Republicans are asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that previous testimony appeared to be “deeply misleading” in describing the department’s attempts to counter purported school board intimidation.
“The FBI should be going after mobsters, not soccer moms. Attorney General Garland has told one story but the actions of some in the Department of Justice tell another,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in an exclusive statement to Fox News. “He needs to return to the Judiciary Committee and give clear answers to the American people.”
According to the letter, sent to Garland on Monday, the cosigning Republicans voiced concern that the attorney general’s October 27th testimony did not align with information provided by a whistleblower. They also questioned, as many had during the hearing, how closely Garland intended the DOJ to follow his October 4th memo, which suggested the FBI could be deployed to manage situations that arose in local school board meetings.
Senate Judiciary GOP calls upon AG Merrick Garland to testify before them again: “We remain deeply concerned that your October 4 Memorandum is being used by the DOJ and the FBI as a basis to pursue investigations against American parents for First Amendment-protected activities.” pic.twitter.com/yMrnJ8iuCu
— Jerry Christmas 🎄🎅🏽 (@JerryDunleavy) November 30, 2021
Garland, who avoided the use of the term “domestic terror” when referring to concerned parents in his own memo — insisted during his testimony that the Justice Department would only be utilized in cases where violence had occurred or had been threatened. But his memo, which was in response to a request from the National School Board Association that did suggest disruptive parents were potentially engaging in acts of domestic terror, suggested that the FBI could be deployed in instances of alleged harassment rather than only in cases of violence.
“We remain deeply concerned that your October 4 Memorandum is being used by the DOJ and the FBI as a basis to pursue investigations against American parents for First Amendment-protected activities,” the letter read. Signers included, in addition to Sasse, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee, (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
“You stated that the ‘purpose of this Memorandum is to get our law enforcement to assess the extent of the problem’ and that the Memo ‘comes before investigations.’ When asked why the DOJ was treating parents at school boards as domestic terrorists, you said: ‘[m]y Memo says nothing about domestic terrorism, says nothing about parents committing any such things,” the letter continued.
The FBI informed Fox News in an earlier statement that Garland’s memo “in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats.”
“The Attorney General’s memorandum simply underscores the FBI’s ongoing efforts to assist state, local, and federal partners to address threats of violence, regardless of the motivation. The FBI has never been in the business of investigating parents who speak out or policing speech at school board meetings, and we are not going to start now,” the statement concluded.