Steube Grills AG Garland on Politicized DOJ During House Judiciary Committee Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today grilled Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Steube pressed Garland for answers explaining his egregious politicization of the department, most recently displayed in the difference in treatment of the violent extremists who raided the Department of Interior (DOI) on October 14, 2021 versus the protestors from January 6, 2021.
Steube presented two photographs to the Attorney General, one of the protests at the DOI on October 14 and one of the protestors on January 6. AG Garland stated that this was the first time he heard of the October 14 infiltration of the DOI.
“You’re saying, ‘well that’s an ongoing investigation and I don’t know about it.’ But clearly based on the pictures, clearly what has occurred, factually what’s been widely reported in all sorts of different American outlets that these individuals forced themselves into a building here in the Department of Interior, and you’re refusing right here today before the American people to say, ‘yes, that’s the same type of activity that I’m going to bring the full force of the Department of Justice to come against.’” Steube said.
Steube’s full remarks can be found here or below.
Steube: “Thank you, Madam Chairman. Attorney General Garland, in your Senate Confirmation hearing you referred to the January 6 protests as the, and I quote, ‘most dangerous threat to democracy’ in your law enforcement and judicial career. In that same hearing, you even compared January 6 to the Oklahoma City bombing case you worked on where 168 people were killed.
In a June 15 speech announcing a new enhanced domestic terrorism policy you cited January 6 as a motivation for that new policy. You went on to describe January 6, and I quote, as an ‘assault on a mainstay of our democratic system.’
You have said that prosecuting ‘extremist attacks on our democratic institutions remains central to the mission’ of the Department of Justice. So, suffice to say, it’s clear you feel very strongly about using the full force of your position to prosecute those involved with the January 6 protests.
What is not clear, however, is if you will use the same force against violent left wing domestic terrorists. Just last week, on October 14, a group of extremists environmental and ‘indigenous’ protestors forced their way into the Department of Interior. They fought with and injured security and police officers, sending some of those officers to the hospital.
The extremists violently pushed their way into a restricted government building in an attempt to thwart the work of the Department of the Interior. Police arrested at least 55 protestors on site, but others got away.
Mr. Garland, do you believe these environmental extremists who forced their way into the Department of Interior are also domestic terrorists?”
AG Garland: “So I’m not going to be able to reference that specific incident since this is the first I know about it. But I will say that the department does not care—“
Steube: “So this is the first that you know about an incident where protesters force themselves into a federal government building right here in DC? Like you didn’t hear about this at all?”
AG Garland: “This particular example, doesn’t mean the Justice Department doesn’t know about it, but I personally haven’t heard about it before what you’re saying right now.
And I want to be clear we don’t care whether the violence comes from the left or from the right or from the middle or from up or from down, we will prosecute violations of the law according to the statutes and facts that we have. This is a nonpartisan determination of how to do that.”
Steube: “Alright, I’ll make it a little clearer for you. And we’re all- most of us are lawyers here, so we use evidence in court. So you got two pictures here, one picture is from January 6 of individuals forcing themselves in the Capitol. This other picture is extremist forcing themselves into the Interior Department. So, looking at these pictures, and I know you say you’re not aware of this which blows my mind that you’re not aware of violent extremists forcing their way into a department right here in Washington D.C. into a federal building.
But just with these evidence, with these two pictures, that you see here of people forcing themselves in a federal building, would you call both of these acts domestic terrorism?”
AG Garland: “Look, I’m not going to comment about particular matters I’m-“
Steube: “I’m not asking you to comment on a particular matter. I’m asking you comment on these two photos. You have two pictures of individuals forcing themselves into a government building right here in Washington D.C.
And one you very, as I laid out, very welcomely called them domestic terrorists, but you are refusing to call groups like this, who commit the same atrocities in Washington D.C., domestic terrorists.”
AG Garland: “One I know the facts of, the other I don’t know the facts of.”
Steube: “Well I’m telling- I’m showing you pictures. Here’s facts, right here. If you want, act like we’re in a courtroom. We have Exhibit A, Exhibit B, January 6, Department of Interior.”
AG Garland: “Well as you know—”
Steube: “Based on these pictures of people forcing themselves into the—"
AG Garland: “As you know one picture is not going to be able- I’m not going to be able to resolve a legal determination based on one picture. In the January 6 case we have terabytes of video which disclose exactly what happened.”
Steube: “Speaker Pelosi still hasn’t released to the American public to view all that video that has been captured here in Washington and in the Capitol complex. But that’s the problem that everyday Americans are facing right now is they see these type of comments that you’ve made about January 6, yet you’re completely, and you’re not answering my question now.
You’re saying, ‘well that’s an ongoing investigation and I don’t know about it.’ But clearly based on the pictures, clearly what has occurred, factually what’s been widely reported in all sorts of different American outlets that these individuals forced themselves into a building here in the Department of Interior, and you’re refusing right here today before the American people to say, ‘yes, that’s the same type of activity that I’m going to bring the full force of the Department of Justice to come against.’
Regardless of the ideology, which you have said in the past, but you’re refusing to do that today. And that’s the problem with the challenges that you’re, that this administration, your department is facing, is every day Americans who are seeing this on TV and now you have you opportunity to set the record straight and say, ‘both of those action, regardless of ideology, are against federal law and will be prosecuted with the full faith and credit of the Department of Justice,’ and you’re refusing to do that.
That’s the challenge that everyday Americans are having right now is because they’re seeing what you guys are doing to the people in January 6 to the point where even a judge is saying there’s the-“
Chairman: “The gentleman’s time has expired.”
Steube: “The speaker before me had 30 extra seconds- I ask the same deference as you gave to the previous speaker. That you have even judges who recently even held the Department of Corrections in contempt releated to the way the January 6 suspects have been treated and you’re refusing to even comment on the very acts that have just occurred here.
And that’s what is horribly wrong and is happening in our country that the American people seeing and you’re refusing to answer those questions.”