The decade's most triggering comedy
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland became visibly upset after a House lawmaker pressed him about the FBI producing a memo earlier this year that labeled so-called Radical-Traditional Catholics as potential domestic terrorists.
During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Garland faced a barrage of questions over the Biden Administration’s actions over the last two years.
But when Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) asked about the Department of Justice and FBI persecuting traditional Catholics, the question triggered an enraged response from the attorney general.
“I have no idea what ‘traditional’ means here,” Garland said.
“Catholics that go to church,” Van Drew replied. “Yes or no?”
“The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion is so outrageous — is so absurd,” Garland said.
“Mr. Attorney General,” Van Drew interrupted. “It was your FBI that did this. It was your FBI, and we have the memos and emails [sic] sending undercover agents into Catholic churches.”
Earlier this year, FBI whistleblower Kyle Seraphin first published in UncoverDC, an unclassified intelligence document out of the bureau’s Richmond field office that targeted traditional Catholics who are “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.”
Seraphin wrote in his piece for UncoverDC that the intelligence document shows a permissive tolerance within the bureau for left-leaning ideological actors that furthers the weaponization of the FBI against conservative Americans and could lead to “investigations into Americans in violation of their God-given, First Amendment-protected civil liberties.”
Almost immediately after the document leaked, FBI authorities purged the ant-Catholic memo from its system, saying the bureau would “never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”
During the Wednesday hearing, Garland said that the memo “appalled” both him and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“Are they extremists or not — I’m asking a simple question,” Van Drew said. “Say no, if you think that was wrong?”
“Catholics are not extremists, no,” Garland admitted.
When Van Drew asked if federal officials fired anyone for producing the memo, Garland said, “I don’t know.”
Attorney General Garland responds to Rep. Jeff Van Drew's (R-NJ) questions about the DOJ and FBI persecuting traditional Catholics: "The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion is so outrageous! So absurd!" pic.twitter.com/RKoTcXIL0o
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 20, 2023
Garland, who is Jewish, said during his opening statement at the hearing that his family fled antisemitism and persecution in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s.
“This country took her in, and under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution,” Garland said of his grandmother.
“Repaying this country for the debt my family owes for our very lives has been the focus of my entire professional career,” he later said.