tv Part 1 - Attorney General Testifies on Justice Dept. Oversight Matters CSPAN October 24, 2021 1:10pm-2:39pm EDT
sparklight supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. attorney general merrick garland was on capitol hill for an oversight hearing held by the house judiciary committee. he testified on certain actions taken by the justice department and took questions about other topics including an october memo he issued concerning threats against school boards. and the prosecution of defendants connected to the january 6 capitol attack.
now to the house judiciary committee for testimony by attorney general merrick garland. this is live coverage here on c-span3. >> i'm going to countdown to start, four, three, two, one. you can begin. house committee on judiciary will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. welcome everyone to this morning's hearing and oversight of the department of justice. before we begin i would like to remind members we have
established an e-mail address and distribution list dedicated to circulating exhibits, motions or other materials members might want to offer as part of our hearing today. fuld like to submit materials please distribute them and we'll circulate them to members and staff as quickly as we can.if y materials please distribute them and we'll circulate them to members and staff as quickly as we can. also face conversation are required for all meetings in enclosed space such as committee hearings except when you are recognized to speak. i will now recognize myself in opening statement. good morning mr. attorney general, and thank you for appearing before our committee today. in the department of justice performance as it should it is champion of bill of rights, protector of rule of law and corner isotope of institution it is a make up the republic. as attorney general you have the responsibility to keep the department functioning at this high level, preserving the constitution for our children and our children's children.
you have assumed this enormous responsibility at a crossroads in our nation's history. for four years democratic institutions that you have sworn to protect, versus a judge and now as attorney general were deeply undermined by the former president and his political enablers. during that time the trump administration leveraged the department to protect the president and his friends and to punish his enemy, both real and e imagined. and when the former president lost the last election, he summoned the top law enforcement officers in the country and demanded they use the full power of the federal government to install him for another term. trump's plan failed. at least in part because at least some department officials refused to help him overturn the election. even now however, the ex-president and his allies continue to cast doubt on the last election and appear to be drafting a plan to overturn the next one. and next time we may not be so
lucky. your task as attorney general is unenviable judge garland. it must build back confidence and respect for the constitution and rule of law. and it is not enough just to right the ship. as a chief law enforcement officer of our nation it is also your responsibility to help the country understand and reckon with the violence and the lawlessness of the last administration while maintaining the department's prosecutorial independence. january 6th, insurgents stormed the capitol building in what appears to be a pre-planned organized assault on our government. seeking to overturn the votes of their fellow americans and believing in the lie told them by president trump and his followers. i commend the department for doing the important work of bringing those responsible for the violence of january 6th to
justice. i ask only that you continue to follow the facts in the law where they lead. because although you have rightly brought hundreds of charges with those who physically trespassed in the capitol, the evidence suggests you will soon have hard decisions to make about those who organized and incited the attack in the first place. and we must acknowledge the simple truth, that none of the individual who is attacked the capitol of that day appeared out of thin air. according to the southern poverty law center, membership in white nationalist groups grew 55 percent in the trump presidentedsy. membership in hate groups overall remains historically high. the covid-19 epidemic as with many national crises brought out both the best and the worst of our fellow americans. while every day heroes struggled to save lives and keep people safe, anti-asian hate crimes and hate incidents skyrocketed. innocent people lost their lives and communities were shattered.
i know doj and its components are cree to biden administration's national strategy for countering violent extremism and i'm looking forward to hearing more about how doj is working to prevent violent extremists from gaining further foothold in our country. this growth in extremist ideologies echoed in an epidemic and violence and intimidation directed at healthcare professionals, teachers, essential workers, school board members and election workers. to be clear, we are a country that prizes democratic involvement in every level of government. the right to be heard to have a voice is guaranteed by the constitution. but nobody has the right to threaten his or her fellow citizens with violence. you were absolutely right to ask the fbi and federal prosecutors to meet with local law enforcement agencies and set up dedicated lines of communication so that we can confront this spike in violence head on.
a broader pattern here. in each of these cases the rise of president trump's big lie growing violence, same set of individuals have leveraged the same sort of misinformation, stoked the same sort of grievances and showed remarkably little interest in solving our problems. but this country and your tenure as attorney general cannot be defined only by the outrages of the last four years. we have much more to do to deliver on our nation's fundamental process of liberty and justice for all. black and brown americans deserve to live in a country where they can trust the local police departments will protect, not endanger, their families. i applaud you for taking steps to limit these chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and we must continue to work together to address the issues that allow for our criminal justice system to so disproportionately impact people of color. across the country, state
legislatures are restricting the right to vote in service of the most cynical political motives. your department has rightly stepped in to secure our next election. and congress owes you a voting rights restoration act that will give you the tools you need to consign these nakedly undemocratic efforts to the dust bin of history where they belong. similarly, texas law to ban abortion after six weeks and punish abortion providers is designed to restrict its citizens constitutionally protected rights. it does so by offering to pay a bounty to those who turn in their neighbor, coworkers or even strangers if they suspect someone violated the law or helped a woman get an abortion after six weeks. this deliberately creates an atmosphere of fear and suspicion and stops women from seeking help. the as dangerous law repugnant to the constitution, and i thank you for the department's swift action to protect these essential rights. we cannot become a country where only some people in some states
enjoy their constitutional rights. as attorney general, you have the power to help our country navigate the generational trauma of oppression and move past the challenges of the last four years. thank you again for appearing before us today. i look forward to your testimony. i now recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee. the gentlemen from ohio mr. jordan for his opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman. the chairman just said the trump doj was political and went after their opponents. are you kidding me? three weeks ago the national school board association writes president biden asking him to involve the fbi in local skoorbd matters. five days later, the attorney general of the united states does just that.five days later, general of the united states does just that. kpaikt exactly what a political organization asked to be done. five days. we've said, republican on the committee have sent the attorney general 13 letters in the last six months. takes weeks and months to get a response. 8 of the letters we've got nothing. they just gave us the finger, said we're not going to get back
to you. and all letters were actually sent to the attorney general. here is a letter sent to someone else asking for a specific thing to be done and in five days the attorney general does it. here is what the october 4th memo said. i'm directing the fbi to convene meetings are local leaders. these meetings will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting. dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting. a snitch line on parents. started five days after a left wing political organization asked for it. that's not politically, i don't know what is. where is the dedicated lines of communication with local leaders regarding our southern border, something that frankly is a federal matter? where is the dedicated lines of communication on violent crime in cities. violent crime went up in every major urban area where democrats have defunded police. can't do that. to biden administration is going
to go after parent who is object to some racist hate america curriculum. nope. can't focus on the southern border where 1.7 million illegal encounters have happened this year alone. a record. a record number. ms-13 can just waltz right across the boarder. but the department of justice, they are going to open up a snitch line on parents. think about this. the same fbi merrick garland is directing to open up communication to report on parents just a few years ago spied on --. hired fusion gps, hired christopher steel. put a bunch of garbage together. gave that to the fbi, they use they had a a basis to open up investigation into a presidential campaign. and then mr. zusman. worked at perkins qb. the firm hired by the campaign. cut out the middle men. i'm going directly to the fbi.
and not just anyone at the fbi. who? jim baker, the chief council at the fbi handed him a bunch of false information, told him false information and of course he's been diet indicted by the special counsel. few weeks ago the ig at the department of justice released report that found the fbi maid over 200 errors, omissions and lies in just 29 randomly selected fisa applications but don't worry, the attorney general of the united states just put them in charge of a dedicated line of communication to report on parents who attend school board meetings. mr. chairman, americans are afraid. for the first time during my years in public office, first time. i talked to the good folks i get the privilege of representing in the fourth district of ohio, folks all around the country. they tell me for the first time they fear their government. and frankly i think it is obvious why.
every liberty we enjoy in the first amendment has been assaulted in the last year, stop and think about it. americans were told you couldn't go to church, couldn't go to work. couldn't go to school. small business owners we are told you are not essential, close your doors, causing many to go bankrupt. we were given curfews, stay-at-home orders. last fall in ohio you had to be in your home at ten. in pennsylvania in your home you had to wear a mask. in vermont you didn't have to have a mask because you weren't allowed to have friends and family over. and of course there is always a double standard with the folks. folks who make the rules never seem to follow'em. and now the biden administration says gets a vaccine or lose your job. even if you have had covid and have natural immunity, get a vaccine or you will lose your job. oh, i almost forgot. the biden administration also wants another dedicated line of communication for reporting. they want a second snitch line. they want banks to report on every single transaction over
$600 for every single american to the irs. the irs, that agency with its stellar record of customer service t irs, you know, the same irs that targeted conservatives the last time joe biden was in the executive branch. jefferson said once tyranny is when the people fear the government. we're there. sadly people are there. but i don't think the good people of this great country are going to cower and hide. i think you memo mr. attorney general was the last straw. i think it was the catalyst for a great awakening that is just getting started. pilots at southwest airlines, the chicago police union, parents ad school board meetings. americans are pushing back because americans value freedom. few weeks ago, terry mcauliffe said this. "i don't think parents should be telling schools what to teach."
when government tells parents we're smarter than you, americans aren't going to toll tolerate it. i think they are going stand up to this accelerated march to communism we knew see. americans are going fight the good fight. they are going finish the course. they are going to keep the faith, because americans value freedom. mr. chairman, we have a video we'd like to play. >> mr. chairman. >> we have video we'd like to play. >> mr. chairman. >> -- >> i object. >> -- recognition. >> i object. i'm reserving my right to object to the video. may i inquire as to where weather the gentlemen has followed the protocol by providing 48 hours notice to the clerk he was going to use a video. >> first of all there is no 48 hour rule. it is not in the committee
rules. second, we did let the committee staff t majority know that we had a video and -- to them this morning. >> -- to the gentlelady's request, he did not supply -- 48 hours notice required by the rule. >> mr. chairman. >> and i insist on my objection, having failed to follow the bipartisan protocol. i insist on my objection. >> objection has been heard. the video will not be shown. >> ai appeal the ruling and the chair. >> there's been no ruling -- there's been no ruling made -- been an objection. >> mr. chairmanned i'd like to speak regarding the. >> that's out of order. this is not debatable. >> what's out of o order is there is no rule requiring 48 hour notice. >> there is such a rule. >> not in our rule. >> mr. chairman, what are you afraid of? >> there is such a rule. you objected last year. you were told there was such a rule. >> what are they afraid of?
videos appearance. >> the gentlemen was recognized for his opening statement. is he finished with his oemtd. >> -- it's not a rule. it's what you said, i think the term used is it is protocol. >> the gentlemen -- >> conduct odd the committee. rules do. that is not a rule. we had a video. we understood you had a video. >> i seek recognition -- >> objected because you failed to follow the rule. her objection is sustained. the gentlemen have anything else -- >> -- we had a recognition for the parliamentary inquiry. >> i'll yield back in just a second and particularly -- >> you yield back? >> no i haven't yielded back. ill i said i will in a second. the as video of moms and dads at school board meetings. and you aren't going to let us play it? >> it will -- an objection has been herd that you failed to give the 48 hours required by the rule. and therefore -- >> mr. chairman, what rule?
what rule? -- inquiry, what rule? please present the rule. >> in the case of audio, visual materials on the leadership of my chairman goodlat, republican -- this protocol simply requires members to provide 48 hours notice they are going to use audio visual materials. until recently this protocol was not controversial. it was a helpful tool we used to manage hearings and make sure videos played properly. the gentlemenwoman has abouted to the materials because the gentlemen did not provide the agreed upon 48 hours notice. playing audio visual materials is equivalent as introducing printed materials into the hearing record. normal course of business we do not object to each other's request but members have the right to object in they so choose and an objection has been heard. >> mr. chairman did we ever vote on that?
>> obviously you are going to censor us which is sort of the conduct of the left today it seems and democrats today it seems. i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentlemen yields back. point of order? gentlemen would say his point of order? >> -- the actually written rule. this is not a rule. >> it is at a point of order as i said before. playing audio visual materials in a committee hearing is equivalent of introducing printed materials into the hearing record. in the normal course of business we do not object to each others requests but members have the right to object if they so choose and an objection has been heard. >> -- i'd ask you to rule on my point of order. >> gentlemen is not made a valid
point of order. >> move to table. >> there is nothing to appeal. there's been no ruling. there's been no ruling. there's just been an objection and the objection has been heard. now we'll introduce the attorney general. i will now introduce today's witness. merrick garland was sworn in as the 86th attorney general of the united states march 11, 2021. immediately preceding his confirmation as attorney general, mr. garland was a judge of the united states court of apeelts to district of columbia circuit. he was appointed to that position in 1997, served chief judge of the circuit 2013 to 2020 and served as chair of the executive committee of the judicial conference of the united states from 2017 until 2020. in 2016 president obama nominated him for the position of associate justice of the
united states supreme court. before becoming a federal judge attorney general garland spent a substantial part of his professional life at the department of justice. special assistant to the attorney general. assistant united states attorney. deputy attorney general in the criminal division and principle associate deputy attorney general. early in his career he was in private practice and also taught at harvard high school. earning both of his undergraduate and law degrees from harvard university. second circuit and supreme court justice william brennan. we welcome the attorney general and thank him for participating today. if you please rise, i will begin by swearing you in. raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury the testimony you are about to give is true and correct, to the best of your knowledge, information and belief, so help you god.
let the record show the witness has answered in the affirmative. thank you and please be seated. your written statement will be entered into the record i in its entirety. accordingly i ask you summarize your testimony in five minutes to. help you stay within that time limit, there is a timing light on your table. when the light switches from green to yellow. you have one minute to conclude your testimony. when the light turns red, it signals your five minutes have expired. attorney general garland you may begin. >> good morning, charm nadler, ranking member, distinguished members of this committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. my address to all justice department employees on my first day in office i spoke about three co-equal thattish. upholding rule of law. keeping our country safe and protecting first amendment
rights. the justice department must adhere to norms part of its dna since edward levy's tenure as the first attorney general. the norms, of the principled exercise of discretion and treating like cases alike defined who we are as public servants. over the past seven months that i have served as attorney general the department has reaffirmed and where appropriate, updated and strengthened policies that are foundational for these norms. for example, we strengthened our policy governing communications between the justice department and the white house. that policy is designed to protect the department's criminal and civil law enforcement decisions and its legal judgments from partisan or other inappropriate influence. we also issued a policy to better protect the freedom and independence of the press. by restricting the use of compulsory process to obtain information from or records of
members of the news media. the second priority is keeping our country safe. from all threats foreign and domestic, wile also protecting our civil liberties. we are strengthening our 200 joint terrorism task forces which are the essential hubs for international and domestic counterterrorism cooperation across all levels of government. for fy-22 we're seeking more than $1.5 billion, a 12% increase for our counterterrorism work. we are also taking aggressive steps to counter cyber threats, whether from nation state, terrorists or common criminals. in april we launched both a comprehensive cyber review and ransomware and digital extortion task force. in june we seized a 2.3 million dollar ransom payment made in bitcoin to the group that targeted colonial pipeline. keeping our country safe also requires reducing violent crime
and gun violence. in may we announce ad comprehensive violent crimes strategy which deploys all of our relevant departmental components to those ends. we also launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to disrupt illegal firearms trafficking in key corridors across the country and to support local police departments and help them build trust with the communities they serve, our fy-22 budget requests over $1 billion for grants. we are likewise keeping our country safe from violent drug trafficking networks which are fuelling the overdose epidemic. opioids including illegal fentanyl cause nearly 70,000 fatal overdose deaths in 2020. we'll continue to use all resources at our disposal to save lives. finally keeping our country safe requires protecting its democratic institutions, including the one we sit in
today from violent attack. as the committee is well aware, the department is engaged in one of the most sweeping investigations in its history in connection with the january 6th attack on the capitol. the department's third core priority is protecting civil rights. this was a founding purpose when the justice department was established in 1870. today the civil rights divisions's work remains vital to safeguarding voting rights, prosecuting hate crimes and stopping unlawful discrimination. this year we doubled is it size of the civil rights divisions voting section and fy-22 budget features the largest increase totaling more than 15%. coordinators for hate crimes work and stepped up support for community relations service and the departmentwide efforts to advance environmental justice and tackle climate change.
we are also revitalizing and expanding our work to ensure equal access to justice. in the days ahead we look forward to working with congress to restore a stand alone access to justice office within the department dedicated to addressing the most urgent legal needs of communities across america. in addition to these core priorities and other important area of departmental focus is ensuring anti-trust enforcement, reinvigorating that enforcement, combatting fraud and protecting consumers. we are aggressively enforcing our anti-trust laws by challenging anti-competitive mergers and exclusionary conduct and by prosecuting price fixing and elocution schemes that harm both consumers and workers. in 3rz we're seeking additional resources to reinvigorate anti-trust enforcement across the board. we also stood up the covid-19
fraud enforcement task force to bring to justice those who defrauded the government of federal dollars meant for the most vulnerable among us. in sum, in seven months the justice department has accomplished a lot of important work for the american people. and there is much more to be done. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony. we will now proceed under the five minute rule with questions, and i will recognize myself to begin for five minutes. mr. attorney general, in the 2013 decision shelby county versus holder. the supreme court gutted section five the voting rights act rendering its pre clearance division inoperative. as a direct result the right to vote has come in under renewed and steady assault and states have spent the past eight years enacting a slew of barriers to voting that target or impact
communities of color and other historically disenfranchised groups. before this committee in august the assistant attorney general christen clark testified section five of the voting rights act was truly the heart of the act and called it the department's most important tool for safeguarding voting right nitrogen our country. why is section five pre clearance so crucial to combatting discriminatory voting practices? >> thank you mr. chairman. vote, the right to vote is a fundamental aspect of our democracy. in many ways it is the right from which all other rights occur. the voting rights act was a gem of american legislation, as president ronald reagan said and as other presidents on both sides of the aisle have said. a key part of that provision was section 5, as you said. this was a pre clearance provision, which required specified states where there had been discriminatory practices that provisions for changes in patterns or practices of voting
should be submitted to the department for pre clearance to determine whether they violated the act. there was another alternative, if state did not like the result from the justice department it could go to a court and get a resolution there. but the great idea of pre clearance was to allow advanced review for those things went into effect rather than require the justice department on a one by one basis after the fact. makes it extremely difficult to attack unlawful prescriptions on voting practice. >> thank you, assistant attorney general clark testified number two is no substitute for the important preemptive review provided by the process. the full impact of the supreme court's recent decision in bernvich versus dmc on section two remains to be seen. however in the absence, what steps is the justice department
taken to increase voting rights under section two? >> section two is a remaining tool. it is extraordinarily important and it does give us some impact. in order to better effectuate that provision we've doubled the size of the voting rights section because it will take more people to evaluate state laws on a one by one basis. so we are going about doing that'll. we have brought one case as you know with respect to changes in georgia. we are looking carefully at other states, and we are looking carefully at the redistricting which is occurring as we speak now as a result of the census. we continued to do that and vigorously make sure that section 2 is appropriately enforced. >> if you should find that given states reapportionment, for example, was unconstitutional and you sued it could take six or eight years for those suits to be resolved as we've seen. and that's one reason -- another
reason for the necessity for section 5 pre clearance. only one last question for you. the country and the congress is still reeling from the events of january 6th and the select committee is diligently pursuing its investigation into the insurrection. this week chairman thompson and his colleagues voted to hold in contempt steve bannon who failed to supply with the committee subpoenas. and the measure will be taken you have by the house later today. unfortunately the actions of individuals like mr. bannon are not new to us. many committees including this one repeatedly face obstruction from the prior administration in the former president's loyal allies. congress however is not an enforcement body and looks to the department to handle criminal matters when appropriate. so i ask you mr. attorney general, regardless of politics, will the department follow the facts and the law and expeditiously consider the referrals put forth by the select committee in and when they are approved by the full house? >> the department recognizes the
important oversight role that this committee and house of representatives and the senate play with respect to the executive branch. i will say what spokesperson for the u.s. attorneys office in the district of columbia said i think yesterday or the day before, the house of representatives votes for referral of a contempt charge, the department of justice will do what it always does in such circumstance, apply the facts and law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution. >> thank you very much. >> pull the mic a little closer. >> oh i'm sorry. is that better? of course. >> mr. shabt. >> thank you. mr. chairman i'd start bying is you unanimous consent that an op ed that appeared in last week's "wall street journal" by the auto over the patriot act
entitled patriot act wasn't meant to target --. most of us at other jobs before we got here to congress. for example, i practiced law for quite a few years. i was county commissioner, i was a member of cincinnati city council and before that i was a schoolteacher. in cincinnati in the inner city. all the students in the school were african american, and i taught the 7th and 8th grade. it was my experience that the kids who did the best were the ones who had parental involvement. in their education. does that make sense to you? >> yes, i think parental involvement is very important in education. >> thank you. now with that in mind, having parents involved in their children's education, i have to say i found it deeply disturbing that the national school board association convinced the biden administration to sick you and
your justice department, the fbi, the full power of the federal law enforcement in this country on involved parents. as if they were domestic terrorists. one of the tools in your arsenal of weapons of course is the patriot act that i just mentioned. not many current members of this committee were here when we passed the patriot act. but i was. and mr. chairman, you were too. and i remember clearly that we were both concerned about potential abuse of this new law enforcement tool. and that is why, for example, we insisted on sunset provisions on some aspect of the patriot act. but i can tell you, not in a million years did we dream that one day we'd see the justice department treat american parents as domestic terrorists. and in a primer on domestic terrorism issued last november by none other than the fbi, mr.
attorney general, the fbi explicitly stated that, quote, under fbi policy and federal law, no investigative activity related to domestic terrorism may be initiated based on first amendment activity, unquote. now, parents speaking up at a school board meeting against the teaching of critical race theory or anything else they want to talk about is clearly a first amendment activity. now, of course school board meetings can sometimes be highly emotional affairs. parents do care about their kids' education. how they are being taught, what they are being taught. and these parents have every right to be heard, even if former virginia governor terry mcauliffe thinks otherwise. now, no one has the right to be violent, or threaten violence. and if anyone does that, they can be dealt with by security or by local law enforcement. but we don't need the vast power
of the federal government throwing its weight around. we don't need you, your justice department or the fbi trampling on the rights of american parent who is just want the best possible education for their children. so mr. attorney general, let me ask you this. according to the sarasota herald tribune, one example of a so called terrorist incident was a parent merely questioning whether a school board members had earned their high school diplomas. now that might have been rude. but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your justice department ought to be investigating? >> absolutely not. and i want to be clear, the justice department supports and defends the first amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. that is not what the memorandum
is about at all. nor does it use the words "domestic terrorism" or "patriot act." like you, i can't imagine any circumstance in which the patriot act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can i imagine the circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism. >> thank you, i'm nearly out of time so let me just conclude with this. we ought to be encouraging parents to be actively involved in the ocean education of their third down. if our children are to be competitive with the children of japan and south korea and india and yes, china, for tomorrow's job, they better be getting a topnotch education in this country. let's support and welcome parental involvement, not use the vast powers of federal law enforcement to target parents as domestic terrorists. i yield back. >> the gentlemen yields back. once again, i would remind all members that guidance from the
office of attending physicians states that face coverings are required for all meetings in enclosed spaces such as committee hearings except when you are authorized to speak and that means you, jim, and marjorie and matt and lot of're people i can't recognize because of distance, etc. so please everyone observe that rule. i now recognize mr. lofgren for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you mr. attorney general for being here this morning. after a confirmation hearing, you characterized what happened on january 6th as, quote, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy. i agree with that. and in your written testimony today, you point out that the intelligence the intelligence community has identified domestic violent extremists as the primary threat to our nation. and further note that your
department is committee to keeping our country safe by protecting our democratic institutions. i would note that protecting our democratic institutions is not limited to the department of justice. the congress also has that obligation, to protect our democracy. to that end, we have a select committee that is reviewing the events leading up to january 6, and has a legislative mandate to devise legislative recommendations to prevent future acts of domestic extremist violence, to strengthen the resiliency of our nation's democratic institutions, to propose laws that will keep us, our democratic system, safer. now, with that background in mind, we are, as you are aware, seeking information to inform us to perform that role.
before you were ag, you were a judge. and i note that in your judicial role, in 2004, there was a case, judicial watch versus the department of justice, where the court ruled, quote, presidential communications privilege applies only to documents solicited and received by the president or his immediate white house advisers who have broad and significant responsibility for investigating and formulating the advice to be given to the president. i think you're familiar with that case. do you think that's still good law? >> yes, i think the dc circuit is a good source of law. >> in the supreme court case nixon v. administrator of gsa, 1974, the judicial watch case actually relied on that precedent, that case said that the communications to advise the
president would be only on official government matters. do you think that's still good law? >> i think the supreme court's opinion is still good law until it's reversed. but i see no sign that it's going to be reversed. >> we were here in the judiciary committee pursuing testimony from mr. mcgahn, and the court wrote in the 2019 case, and this is a quote, to make the point as plain as possible, it is clear to this court for the reasons explained above that with respect to senior level aides, absolute immunity from compelled congressional process simply does not exist. do you think that's still good law? >> i believe the mcgahn case is still good law. >> recently the department of justice informed a federal district court that, quote, conspiring to prevent of lawful certification of the 2020
election and to injure members of congress and inciting the riot at the capitol would, quote, plainly fall outside the scope of employment of an officer or employee of the united states of america. since your department filed that, i assume you agree with that. >> yes. >> so i just want to mention, i'm not going to ask you about what your department will do if the house of representatives adopts a referral to your department, because i take you at your word that you will follow the precedent, you will follow the law in the ordinary course of events. i would just note that your defense of the rule of law for the department of justice and your standing for the rule of law also means the rule of law for the congress of the united states. article i was the first article for a reason. we have a role to play in making
sure that our democratic institutions are defended. i thank you for your service to our country and i look forward to your deliberations so that the congress of the united states can play its rightful role in defending our institutions and adopting legislation that will strengthen our institutions and preserve and protect our democratic republic. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. mr. gohmert. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, judge garland, for being here. you said a moment ago you couldn't imagine a parent being labeled a domestic terrorist. but parents all over the country believe that's exactly what you labeled them by your memo indicating you were going to get involved in board meetings, school board meetings, because of the threat of domestic terrorism. so if you can't imagine a parent
being labeled a domestic terrorist, i would encourage you to redo your memo so it's not so -- perceived as being so threatening to people concerned about their kids' education. but i want to take you to january 6. it's a very common topic here for people. umm, has any defendant involved in the january 6 events been charged with insurrection? >> i don't believe so. >> well, that is the word most used by democrats here on capitol hill about january 6. but no one has been charged with it that we could find either. how many protesters on january 6 were charged with obstructing an official proceeding for four to six hours, do you know? >> i don't know the exact number. obviously there are 650 who were
arrested, some for assaulting officers, some for obstructing proceedings, some for conspiring to obstruct proceedings. i can get you the numbers for each of the specific -- >> thank you. i would be interested in getting that number. but regarding the men who broke the glass in the two doors there at the speaker's lobby when the two capitol police had been standing there moved to the side to allow them access, were any of those people who broke glass and did damage to those doors working for the fbi or other federal law enforcement entities? >> this is an ongoing criminal investigation, and i'm really not at liberty to discuss. there have been some filings in the nature of discovery which has been provided to the defendants. but other than that, i can't discuss this now. >> well, we've seen some of those filings that talk about
persons 1 through 20 something. were those persons, 1 -- designated by number, were those people who were employed by the fbi or federal entities or were they confidential informants? >> again, i don't know those specifics. but i do not believe that any of the people you're mentioning, charged in the indictment, were either one. >> was a determination ever made as to who repeatedly struck roseanne boylan in the head with a rod before she died? >> again, i think this was a matter that was investigated by the u.s. attorneys office. >> there's a witness on video saying that it was a dc metro policeman. i didn't know if you have been able to confirm or deny that. well, on june 22 of 2016, judge, most of the democrat members of congress took over the house
floor and for the first time in american history, members of congress obstructed official proceedings, not for four to six hours, but for virtually 26 hours, not just violating over a dozen house rules, but actually committing the felony that some of the january 6 people are charged with. that was during the obama administration. nobody has been charged. and those kind of things, where you let democrat members of congress off for the very thing that you're viciously going after people that were protesting on january 6 gives people the indication that there is a two-tiered justice system here in america. you know well, you've been a circuit court judge, you know well that confinement, pretrial confinement is not ever to be
used as punishment. yet there are people, and understand, as a former tough law and order judge, i would sentence everyone, regardless of their party, who did violence or committed crimes on january 6 to appropriate sentences. but for heaven's sake, they are being abused in the dc jail. have you done an inspection over there of the dc jail since your department has some jurisdiction? >> so my understanding is judge lamberth who i respect very much -- >> yeah, he held the warden in contempt but we haven't seen improvement. >> he asked for a review. and the justice department is conducting a review. the marshals did an inspection the other day which was reported in the news. and the civil rights division is examining the circumstances. this is the district of columbia
jail, it's not the bureau of prisons, you understand. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. as i've explained to members on many occasions, i view wearing a face mask as a safety issue and therefore is an important matter of order and decorum. since i am responsible for preserving order and decorum in this hearing, i am requiring members of the committee to wear face masks. i came to this decision after the office of the attending physician released this guidance on wearing masks in committees some time ago. i note some members are still not wearing masks. the requirement is that members wear their masks at all times when they are not speaking. i will take members' compliance of this rule into consideration when they seek recognition. i see mr. roy, for example. i now recognize ms. jackson lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, let me thank you for your enormous work that the department is doing.
i have a series of questions. help me out in your answers so that i can secure responses. as you well know, the senate judiciary committee did an outstanding report on how the former president and his allies pressured doj to overturn the 2020 election. in particular, they noted a series of dates in which they assess that the former president grossly abused the power of the presidency. he also arguably violated the criminal provisions of the hatch act which prevents any person from commanding federal government employees from engaging in political activity. were there be any reason the doj would not further research or determine prospectively that the former president could be prosecuted under the hatch act? >> congresswoman, the justice department has a very longstanding policy of not commenting on potential investigations or actual or pending investigations. it's a foundational element in our rule of law and norms.
it's to protect everyone, no matter what their position, president, former president, congresswoman, senator, or ordinary citizen, and i'll have to rest on that, that i can't comment on -- >> thank you. i take it there is no prohibition. but thank you so very much. the justice department investigated texas, five secure juvenile facilities, findings sexual abuse. can i quickly get an answer, working with the justice department, standardizing conditions at these facilities since the facts were gross in terms of the abuse of those children? i think you're investigating georgia as well. mr. general? >> so we are investigating texas. that was announced, and i believe the governor welcomed that investigation. and it's being done by a combination of the civil rights division and all four u.s. attorneys offices in texas. >> thank you, sir. with respect to compassionate release which came about during
the c.a.r.e.s. act, 39% of american prisoners contracted covid-19. 2,700 persons have died. there is a potential of the compassionate release being eliminated and those out, but also i found that is not being utilized appropriately now. the attorney inspector general said that bop was not prepared with the issue -- was not prepared to deal with the issue of compassionate release on a granular level and of course the director said prisons are not made for social distancing. my question is will you monitor what is going on with compassionate release in terms of people concerning and the fair use of compassionate release under this issue of covid? >> congresswoman, the answer is yes. obviously the pandemic was not something that the bureau of prisons was prepared for or frankly most american institutions were not prepared for. it created a lot of difficulties. it did lead to compassionate
release, leaving people in home confinement. i don't know the specifics that you're mentioning, but we are certainly reviewing carefully how the bureau is responding now to this dangerous circumstance of covid-19. >> thank you, general. we found as it relates to the women in prison 6,600 are serving huge sentences of life, parole -- life with parole, life without parole, virtual life, et cetera. 86% of women in jail have experienced sexual violence. this is the report as it relates to women of color. can we have a more vigorous trauma, mental health protocol for women in prison? federal. >> federal. i think we're required to be careful about such things and we've asked for additional if you could funding for that
purpose. >> thank you. can i quickly ask, bawa, which was not passed by the house, will that passage help you deal with domestic violence against women? it's domestic violence awareness month this month. would it help you be more effective in prosecuting moving forward? >> yes, we support reauthorization of the violence against women act. >> i'm going to make a few statements. gun violence in children has accelerated in a 19-year high in 2017. i would appreciate talking further about greater prosecution on gun trafficking and the proliferation of guns. secondarily, hate crimes has surged as well and we want to hear about the resources being used for hate crimes. and then, as you well know, we have been the poster child in texas for racial gerrymandering and let me thank you for the work you've done under section 2, i just want to make sure this is on the radar screen of the justice department dealing with
that issue of redistricting. but my question finally is, the texas abortion law, one of the worst -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> -- i'm asking that -- >> the gentlelady's time has expired. mr. owens. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, attorney general, attorney general garland, for coming before our committee today. i like to take every opportunity i have to share with our nation the making of a great community. i grew up in one, in the deep south, 1960s. though in the depth of jim crow segregation the community produced giant americans like clarence thomas, condoleeza rice, thomas stole, walter williams, and colin powell. this was not by accident. it was not -- and it was also not rare. the community of faith, family, free market, and education. education was the very core of our success. i was raised in a home with teachers. my dad was a college professor of 40 years. my mom, a junior high school teacher. they were trusted to do what teachers have done throughout our history, to teach children
how to read, write, add, subtract, and to think critically. success in education was always based on parental involvement. it was both expected and welcomed. in my great state of utah, these expectations of parents have not changed. we do not expect nor will we tolerate leftist teaching of our children behind our backs the evil of crt, how to hate our country and hate others based on skin color. some of the most recent actions that the department of justice have taken against parents are concerning. and i would like to direct my questions around that topic. similar questions have been asked and i do want to make sure -- make it very clear to some of my constituents some of the concerns i have. we can all agree that true threats and violence at school board meetings are inexcusable. attorney general garland, do you agree with the national school board association that parents who attend school board meetings and speak passionately against inclusion of programs like critical race theory should be characterized as domestic terrorists?
>> i do not believe that parents who testify, speak, argue with, complain about school boards and schools should be classified as domestic terrorists or any kind of criminals. parents have been complaining about the education of their children and about school boards since there were such things as school boards and public education. this is totally protected by the first amendment. i take your point that true threats of violence are not protected by the first amendment. those are the things we're worried about here. those are the only things we're worried about here. >> thank you so much for that. is there legal precedence for the department of justice to investigate peaceful protests or parental involvement at public school meetings? >> just to say again, we are not investigating peaceful protests or parent involvement in school board meetings. there is no precedent for doing
that and we would never do that. we are only concerned about violence, threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, staff, people like your mother, a teacher. that is what we're worried about. we are worried about that across the board. we're worried about threats against members of congress. we're worried about threats against police. >> thank you very much. thank you much for that. i'm also a member of the education and labor committee. on october 7, republican members of this committee sent you a letter, you and secretary card cardona, expressing a concern about remarks that the secretary had made about parents. we asked that you brief the committee before taking action on parents' lawful expression of legitimate concerns. have you received that letter and do you plan on testifying before the house education and labor committee? >> i'm sorry, i don't recollect the letter but i'll ask my staff to find out where it is. >> okay. let me just say this as i wrap this up, and i do appreciate you being here, attorney general.
i was aware of a time when our race led our men, matriculating from college, black men matriculating from college and i'm now aware in 2017 that 75% of black boys in the state of california cannot pass reading and writing tests. that's a big shift. and the difference is in those days when i was growing up, parents were involved. there was a trust that we can send our kids to school and they can be taught how to love our country, love each other, and love education. that has been changed drastically. and i think i'm going to implore parents out there, get involved. now is the time. do not trust any other adults, particularly our educational system, for the future of your kids. get involved. fight for your rights for your kids to be taught how to love our country, love education, and move forward.
and i think if we do that, we'll get back to old school america where we can appreciate the fact of who we are and an educational system that should be teaching us how to do that. i yield back my time. >> the gentleman yields back. mr. cohen. >> thank you, mr. chair. welcome, general garland. i feel it's a difficult position for me to question you because i have such respect for your acumen, your probity, and your rectitude, which is widely recognized. but there are questions i must ask. the senate judiciary committee had a report recently about the attempts of president trump to get department of justice employees involved in the stop the steal campaign, trying to subvert the election. are any of those people that were involved in that still in the justice department? >> all the bold face names i know about were political appointees, all of whom are not at the department. i don't know the answer otherwise. i don't believe so. but --
>> thank you. i would appreciate if you would check into that, if they were and they participated in this in any way, that they should come to your attention and they should have certain sanctions, i believe. you have defended or sought to continue to defend president trump in his defamation action brought by e. jean carroll. he called her a liar. for what it was worth, he said she wasn't his type. his type is apparently fairly expansive. and you're defending him. do you think that the public sees that as a proper use of department of justice resources, when it's been shown that we're short on personnel in the civil rights division, and that we need that personnel, and yet we're defending president trump's defamation lawsuit by a woman whom he has defamed? >> congressman, we are not defending the defamation made by the former president.
as i've said publicly several times, sometimes being the attorney general and sometimes being the judge means taking positions with respect to the law that are required by the law but which you would not take as a private citizen. in this circumstance, the justice department's briefing is not about whether this was defamation or wasn't defamation. it was solely on the question on the application of the tort claims act. and there is consistent precedent in the dc circuit which holds that even defamatory statements made during press conferences by public officials are within the scope for that very narrow purpose and very narrow defamation. >> if i may, sir, and i appreciate that and read that, but this was an act he took when he was a private citizen, he is now again a private citizen, and was totally outside anything to
do with being president. i hope you will look into it again because i think the public sees it as a mistake. the rule of law, you made clear, and i know you believe this, is one of the major tenets of the department of justice, to uphold the rule of law. michael cohen has a felony on his record, spent time in prison for paying at the direction of president trump hush money to stormy daniels and another woman. i believe it's pretty well-known that president trump was individual 1 as described in the indictment. he couldn't be indicted because of department of justice policy, you don't indict a sitting president. he's no longer a sitting president. do you believe that not looking into indicting individuals 1 equally if not more guilty than michael cohen is not an abuse of equal protection under the law and an abrogation of the idea that the rule of law is -- >> so congressman, a very important element of the rule of law is the norm of the justice department, that we don't comment on whether we're
investigating, what the status of investigations are, unless or until there's a public charge. that's important to protect everyone, whether it be a former president, an existing president, or a public official or a private individual. >> i will accept that, but i hope that you will look at it because i believe that he is equally if not more guilty and it does seem that people get favored treatment, if he's not prosecuted. transparency is important as well. amy berman jackson tried to release some records regarding bill barr's downplaying of trump's obstruction of the mueller investigation. this committee was looking into the emoluments clause violations of the trump hotel and got an order to see some records. do you believe that transparency, those situations, are ones where transparency was not permitted to the american public, as well as the whole mueller report which hasn't been redacted? >> with respect to judge jackson's ruling, i respect judge jackson, she was a former colleague, i respect her very
much. we just have a difference of opinion with respect to theive exception. we believe that in that circumstance, the memorandum which was given to attorney general barr is protected by that, so that all attorneys general can receive honest advice from their subordinates. that matter is before the dc circuit now. everything i've just said is in our papers so i'm not saying anything outside the record. and it will be resolved by the dc circuit. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. johnson of louisiana. >> thank you. mr. attorney general, millions of americans are deeply concerned today that instead of addressing the most pressing issues facing our country, we're watching the biden/garland justice department be weaponized, that you are using your authorities now to advance far left policies and attack republican-led state actions and erode constitutional norms. the most recent case in point
that's been brought up this morning, your memorandum directing the fbi and other department of justice officials to get involved in local school board debates. it concerns us that it was issued just five days after the national school board association sent a letter to president biden which referred to concerned parents as the equivalent of, quote, domestic terrorist and perpetrators of hate crimes, unquote. given the timing of all this, your memo appears to have been motivated by politics more than any pressing federal law enforcement. this is concerning to us and it's worthy of investigation. it also concerns us that your actions may have been motivated by your family's financial stake in this issue. published reports show that your son-in-law co-founded a company called panorama education. we now know that company publishes and sells critical race theory and so-called antiracism materials to schools across the country and it works with school districts nationwide to obtain and analyze data on students often without parental consent. on its website the company brags it's surveyed more than 13 million students in the u.s.
it's raised $76 million from powerful investors including people like mark zuckerberg just since 2017. my first question is this. are you familiar with title v of the code of federal regulations which addresses the rules of impartiality of federal employees and officials? >> i am very familiar with it. i want to be clear once again that there's nothing in this memorandum which has any effect on the kinds of curriculums that are taught or the ability of parents to complain about the kinds of -- >> i understand your position on the free speech. >> it's not a position. >> just a minute. the question is, the question is, the thing that is concerning to those parents that are showing up at these school board meetings, the very basis of their objection and their vigorous debate, as you mentioned earlier, is the curricula, the very curricula that your son-in-law is selling. so to millions of americans, my
constituents, i was home all weekend, i got an earful on this, they're very concerned on that. subpart e of the federal regulation says an employee of the federal branch is discouraged from engaging in conduct that's likely to affect the financial interest of someone close to them. your son-in-law, your daughter, clearly meets that definition. and so the question is did you follow that regulation, did you have the appropriate agency ethic official look into this, did you seek guidance as the federal regulation requires? >> this memorandum is aimed at violence and threats of violence. >> i understand that. >> there -- >> i understand that. excuse me. did you seek ethics counsel before you issued a letter that directly relates to the financial interest of your family, yes or no? >> this memorandum does not relate to the financial interests of anyone. >> i take that as a no. >> the memorandum is against violence and threats of violence. >> mr. attorney general, will you commit to having the
appropriate ethics designee review the case and make the results public? >> this memorandum is aimed at violence and threats of violence. >> i understand your talking point. you're not anger my point. with all due respect, will you submit to an ethics review of this matter, yes or no? >> there is no company in america or hopefully no law-abiding citizen in america who believes that threats of violence should not be prevented. there are no conflicts of interest that anyone could have. >> according to you. but sir, with due respect, that's the purpose of the federal regulation. we need objective third parties to review our activities. you don't get to make that decision yourself. it doesn't matter. you're the chief law enforcement of this country. this raises questions in the minds of millions of americans and your impartiality is being called into question. why would you not submit to a simple ethics review? >> i am exquisitely aware of the ethics requirements. >> but you're not following them. >> i have followed them and
lived with them for the last 25 years. >> did you seek an ethics review or not? >> i'll say again, there are no conflicts of interest in the justice department -- >> according to you. i don't want to be disrespectful but you are not respecting the constitutional norms and federal law that directly applies to your activities. this is of great concern. this is why people are losing faith in our institutions, losing faith in the department of justice. you and i both know as constitutional attorneys if the people lose their faith in our system of justice, if they lose their faith in the idea that justice is blind, that there are not two standards -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. would the attorney general like to respond to the innuendo? >> no, you will i can say is i completely agree that rule of law and respect for it is essential and i will always do everything possible to uphold that and to avoid to any conflict of interest. >> but you will not -- >> the time of the gentleman has
expired.innuendo, it was a question. >> mr. johnson of georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here, general garland. this summer, the house passed hr 4, the john r. lewis voting rights advancement act, which would strengthen sections 2 and 5 of the voting rights act, and also this summer the department announced that it was suing the state of georgia under section 2 of the voting rights act. and i commend your department for working to protect the rights of all americans to vote. general garland, section 2 of the voting rights act prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race while section 5 of the act mandates that changes to voting practices in certain covered jurisdictions be precleared by federal
authorities. with the supreme court having nullified section 5, in effect, the preclearance requirement, by ruling that the coverage formula was unconstitutional, does the department view section 2, litigation alone, as adequate to safeguard voting rights, or must congress pass the john lewis voting rights advancement act and reinstate section 5 in order for voting rights to be adequately safeguarded? >> the justice department supports that act. section 2 is what we have. section 5 is what we need. >> knowing that the house has already passed hr 4, does the justice department support passage of the john lewis voting rights advancement act in the united states senate? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. on september 4, 2021, doj announced an investigation into
georgia prison conditions. "the new york times" reported that over 25 incarcerated persons died last year by confirmed or suspected homicide in georgia prisons and 18 homicides as well as numerous stabbings and beatings have been reported this year. what is the timeline for this investigation and will you commit to briefing the committee and the georgia delegation on the results of the inquiry? >> we are doing that investigation. it's pursuant to statute, which authorizes the civil rights division to bring those kinds of cases. i can't tell you what the timeline is. these kind of things take a considerable amount of time. and i'm not sure what the legal requirements are with respect to briefings outside. this is now in court. so i'm not sure what additional material can be provided outside of what we provide in court. but we'll look into it for you. >> thank you. much of what is known about
conditions in georgia prisons is derived from social media posts including video footage posted during a prison riot last year. how are social media and the u.s. of smuggled smartphones by inmates aiding doj in its civil rights investigation of georgia's prisons? >> i'm sorry, i don't know the answer to that question, but i'll see if i can ask at the civil rights division how they're using that material. >> all right, thank you. mr. attorney -- general garland, the sackler family has used every trick in theook to escape accountability for their role in the opioid epidemic including abusing the bankruptcy system to secure civil immunity from their victims. and now johnson & johnson has scrambled its organizational charts to put tens of thousands of legal claims into bankruptcy to avoid further liability for its cancer causing talcum
powder. do you believe culpable individuals and corporations should be allowed to use the shell game to shield themselves from liability? >> i don't know anything about the second example that you gave. as to the first, the justice department's bankruptcy trustee has weighed in to appeal the decision to immunize from personal liability. and i think that matter is now pending in court. >> thank you. lastly, i will note that there has been a lot of discussion by my friends on the other side of the aisle about local school boards. and i will point out the fact that there are reports that restrictions on the discussion of race and history in schools, these laws that are being put forward by republican-led states, are causing administrators to tell teachers that in addition to having an
opposing view on slavery, now they are saying that you've got to include an opposing view on the holocaust, if you have any books that are teaching about that, you've got to have an opposing view. this is the danger that we -- the gentleman's -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. jordan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the department of justice challenges it. september 1, joe biden criticizes the new law in texas, eight days later the department of justice challenges it. september 29, a political organization asks president biden to involve the fbi in local school board issues. five days later, the department of justice does just that. mr. attorney general, was it just a coincidence that your memo came five days after the national school board association's letter went to the president? >> so we are concerned about violence and threats of violence across the board, against school officials, against --
>> is there any connection, attorney general, with the school board letter and five days later your memo regarding school board issues? >> obviously the letter, which was public and asked for assistance from the justice department, was brought to our attention, and it's a relevant factor in -- >> who gave you the letter? >> i'm sorry? >> how did you become aware of the letter? >> i read about the letter in the news. >> who at the white house told you to write the memo? >> no one at the white house spoke to me about the memoat all. i am sure, at least i would certainly believe, the white house communicated its concerns about the letter to the justice department. and that is -- >> that's my next question. did you or anyone at the justice department discuss the memo with white house personnel or with anyone at the white house before the memo was sent? >> i did not. i don't know whether anyone discussed the memo. i am sure that the communication from the national association of
school boards was discussed between the white house and the justice department and that's perfectly appropriate, just as -- >> who are those individuals, who at the white house talked to the justice department? >> i don't know. >> did they talk to you? >> i think i've answered, no one from the white house spoke to me. but the white house is perfectly appropriately concerned about violence, just like they're concerned about violence in the streets, and they make requests of the justice department in that respect, just like -- >> did you or anyone at the department of justice communicate with the american federation of teachers, the national education association, the national school boards association, prior to your memo? >> i did not. i don't know. >> you don't know if anyone else at the justice department did? >> i don't know. >> did you or anyone at the justice department communicate with those organizations, aft, nea, national school boards association, prior to the letter? did you help the national school board association put together the letter? >> i have had no such conversations. i would be surprised if that happened. but i don't know.
>> will fbi agents be attending local school board meetings? >> no, and there is nothing in this memo to suggest that. i want to, again, try to be clear. this memo is about violence and threats of violence. it's not -- >> the same day you did the memo, the justice department sent out a press release, monday, october 4, 2021. the press release says justice department addresses violent threats against school officials and teachers. now are you said earlier to a question to one of my colleagues on the republican side that parents aren't domestic terrorists, we're not going to treat them that way. let me read from the third paragraph. according to the attorney general's memorandum the justice department will address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel. those efforts are expected to include creation of a task force consisting of representatives from the department's criminal division, civil rights division, the fbi, office of justice programs, and the national security division.
i find that interesting. you said there's no way you're going to be treating parents as domestic terrorists but you've got the national security division in a press release regarding your memo that day. >> my memo does not mention the national security division. >> i didn't say it did. i said the press release accompanying your memo that day from the department of justice, here it is. >> i want to be as clear as i can be. i want to be clear as i can be. this is not about what happens at school board meetings. it's only about threats of violence and violence aimed at school officials, school employees, and teachers. >> the first sentence of your memo, in recent months there has been a disturbing spike in harassment and threats of violence. >> yes. >> when did you review the data regarding this uptick? >> i read the letter and we have been seeing -- >> whoa, whoa. so you read the letter? that's your source? >> so let me be clear.
this is not a prosecution or an -- >> was there an investigation someone did that said there has been a disturbing uptick or do you just take the words of the national school board association? >> the national school board association, which represents thousands of school boards and school boards members, says these are these kind of threats. when we read in the newspapers reports of threats of violence. when that is in the context of threats -- >> the source for the very first -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. deutsche. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general garland, for being here. what concerns me is a lack of concern about threats of violence. general garland, let me give you some examples. in bravard county, florida, a woman was concerned about people going by her home and brandishing weapons. in california, a parent
physically attacked a teacher, sending him to the hospital. in arizona, a school official was told "you're going to get knifed." a fistfight broke out after a school board meeting in missouri. i appreciate, attorney general garland, your concern about threats to people who are doing their job trying to help our kids get a good education. i'm grateful to you for that. my question is, as our governor in florida claims, your efforts are weaponizing the doj, i would like to know whether governor desantis in the state of florida has been cooperative in your efforts to protect our schools. >> i don't -- i don't know the answer to the question that you're asking. we are trying to prevent violence and threats of violence. it's not only about schools. we have similar concern with respect to election workers, with respect to hate crime, with respect to judges and police officers. this is a rising problem in the
united states, of threats of violence. and we are trying to prevent the violence from occurring. >> attorney general, i appreciate it, and i am shocked and dismayed by the lack of concern of some of my colleagues on this committee. last year, attorney general garland, as you pointed out, over 93,000 people died of overdose in america. young people aged 15 to 24 saw a 48% increase. earlier this year i lost my nephew, to an accidental overdose after he consumed a legal herbal supplement tainted with fentanyl. last month the dea issued its first public safety alert in six years and has ramped up enforcement efforts resulting in the seizure of over 11.3 million pills. in a "washington post" article, dea warns about fentanyl-laced
pills, which i will submit for the record. >> without objection. >> a pill must be made in a reputable lab. we are in the midst of an overdose crisis and counterfeit pills are driving so much of it. many of these counterfeit pills that alarm the dea are being sold on social media sites, snapchat, tiktok, instagram, youtube. he said the drug dealer isn't just standing on a street corner anymore, it's sitting in a pocket on your phone. attorney general, what more should social media companies be doing to prevent young people from finding deadly drugs on their platform and what more can you do about it? >> with respect to the latter question, what we can do about it, the dea has intensified focus on this problem of fentanyl crossing the border from mexico, made from precursor, which often come from the people's republic of china.
this is a very dangerous circumstance. the dea -- much of the -- i think the article you're referring to comes from a press conference that the dea administrator gave. a significant portion of these pills are lethal overdose with one pill. and this is an extraordinarily dangerous problem that we are putting our full attention to. >> attorney general garland, i assure you there is strong -- notwithstanding much of what else you'll hear today, strong bipartisan support in this congress to combat the threats of fentanyl, rising overdoses. finally, the person who shot and killed 17 people at marjorie stoneman douglas high school pled guilty. unfortunately the protection of lawful commerce in arms act has blocked countless victims and
surviving family members from their day in court, proceeding broad immunity in civil lawsuits unique to the gun industry. unfortunately the department of justice has a long history of intervening in civil cases filed by gun violence survivors to defend this law. the question is whether you people that repealing the law could improve gun safety in america. >> so the president has already stated his opposition to that statute. but our obligation in the justice department is to defend the constitutionality of statutes that we can reasonably argue are constitutional. that's the position the justice department takes, whether we like the statute or not, we defend the constitutionality of congress' work. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. at this time we will take a very short,