Skip to main content

tv   America Reports With John Roberts Sandra Smith  FOX News  October 27, 2021 10:00am-12:00pm PDT

10:00 am
interview to watch? meanwhile, the hearing continues. hear on fox news, we'll bring you all that we're watching with you monitoring that and the highlights. thanks to guy, dagen and my team on the couch, kayleigh and emily for watching "outnumbered." here's "america reports." >> merrick garland on capitol hill testifying before the senate judiciary committee in firing hearing fuelled by a doj memo directing the f.b.i. to investigate angry parents at school board meetings. i'm john roberts. >> i'm sandra smith, this is "america reports." senators in intense moments pressing garland on that memo, asking him to rescind it. lawmakers expressing concern over the chilling effect they fear it will have on free speech in this country.
10:01 am
all this as outraged parents sound off over agendas in their children's class rams. >> john: merrick garland says it is about keeping school board members safe. >> you wrote the memo because of the later. the letter is disavowed now. you will keep your memo going anyway, right? >> it did not adopt every concern they had in the letter. >> did you consider the chilling impact your memorandum would have on parents exercising their constitutional rights? >> only thing this is about is violence and threats of violence. >> judge, this is shameful, your testimony, your performance is shameful. thank god you are not on the supreme court. you should resign in disgrace. >> sandra: that happening moments ago. more with andy in a moment, we begin with ayesha hasnie. we plan to see more from the
10:02 am
senators in a moment, >> ayesha: right ag garland is trying to smooth over the memo. it is not working. republicans are drilling down on a couple points, the first is vagueness of the demo. it reads the doj would protect people from "other forms of intimidation and harassment," what does that mean? garland tries to explain that. watch. >> what about harassment and intimidation, are those federal crimes? >> they are federal crimes. >> are you referring to witness tampering under 1512? >> 6261-a, makes it a crime, intent to injury, harass or intimidate, placing a person in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury through communication over the internet,
10:03 am
likewise 47usc 23-aa making telephone calls with intention to harass. >> ayesha: now we have a definition on that, garland's memo came mere days after the national school board association ask the president to use the patriot act to deal with threats. garland has not admitted if the white house directed him to issue the memo. several senators raised red flag over doj press release that mentioned national security division would get involved in school board investigations. watch this. >> what on earth does the national security division have to do with parents who are expressing disagreements at school boards? >> nothing in this memorandum or any memorandum is about parents expressing disagreement with school boards. >> ayesha: ag garland admitting
10:04 am
he knows about the loudoun county school rape. senator lee putting on the record not every outburst warrants federal intervention and he and his staff looked into a number of cases, news stories raised by the national school board association and were not able to find explicit death threats made from that. sandra. >> sandra: ayesha hasnie reporting on the hill. we ark -- await two more republicans, we'll get back to the room in a moment. >> john: in the meantime, bring in andy mccarthy, fox news contrib utor. a lot of language was walked by, that was way over the top letter to president biden, should the attorney general abandon the whole thing or is there
10:05 am
justification to keep the f.b.i. involved? >> there is no justification, john. he won't back off from the letter, even though he's been asked to for a simple reason. he committed in his confirmation hearing that he would not politicize the justice department or alaw it to be politicized and that's been done. the school board association consulted closely with the white house and sent this letter and less than a week later, garland cranks out this memo, which isn't a case long and dispatches f.b.i. to essentially harass parents and suppress their decent on circumstances he knows there is no federal jurisdiction. he won't apologize, he would have to acknowledge what he did. >> john: we want to jump back into the hearing, senator marsha
10:06 am
blackburn. >> knowing you helped bring to justice those that caused the oklahoma city bombing, would you really, honestly put parents in the same category as a terry nichols or a timothy mcvey? >> absolutely not. >> why would you ever release a memo, i mean, did you write that memo, did staff write that memo? what would have led you to do this? it is so over the top. >> senator, there is nothing in the memo that in any way draws any comparison, anything like that. this memo is about violence and threats of violence. >> i have to tell you that may be your opinion and many times perception is reality and reading that memo myself,
10:07 am
tennesseeanss reading that memo, what they found in that memo, what they heard you say, if you show up and you question the school boards, you will be deemed a domestic terrorist. you could be investigated by the f.b.i. i mean, the f.b.i. has a lot of other things that they should be focusing on and the f.b.i. should be there looking at issues like china. now the knoxville f.b.i. has been very concerned about china. give me a little update, what is status of the china initiative at doj. >> senator, we regard people's republic of china
10:08 am
extraordinarily serious threat to our universities and -- >> you are stonewalling me on that, we know they are an aggressive threat. >> we continue to investigate -- >> okay. >> prc efforts to -- >> do you see them as an adversary? >> i see them as adversarial with respect to our ransomware, respect to hacking, respect to counter intelligence and counter espionage. >> over the last several months, last nine months, several espionage researchers have been dropped, charges dismissed, including those of a ut professor at ut knoxville and the waway case is there. director wray testified the f.b.i. opens a new chinese espionage investigation every 12 hours.
10:09 am
so are this apparent failures of the initiative? is it lack of leadership or is it a compromise position with the administration, is it incompetence? >> every case is evaluated on its own with respect to the law and the facts. we continue to open cases involving the people's republic of china daily as the director said. we will not in any way let up our concerns about chinese -- >> all right, i want to move on. glad you are not going to go soft on china because this administration is going soft on china. on your directive, going back to the school board association and directive you sent, nsba have apologized, are you planning to apologize to parents of this country, moms and dads? >> there is nothing in this
10:10 am
memorandum any parent should be concerned about. >> there is a lot parents should be concerned about. let me ask you about the durham investigation. 44 senators joined me in a letter that we sent to you in august and we still have not received a written response from you on the status of the durham investigation. so, will you provide for me a written status report of the durham investigation? >> so, the particular letter asked about the budget and as i said at the house committee, mr. durham is continuing. >> we asked for status update and we asked that the report be made public, available to the public, on the completion of this work. will that be made public? >> his budget has been approved, announced and with respect to the report, i would like as much as possible to be made public.
10:11 am
i have to be concerned about privacy act concerns and classification, other than that, the commitment is to provide a public report, yes. >> can you guarantee this committee that special counsel durham has free reign to proceed where the investigation takes him without any political or otherwise undue influence or interference? >> there will be no political or otherwise undue interference. >> okay, susan hennesey was hired to work in national security division. this is troubling because of her political bias, made several comments that show she is incapable of working impartially on sensitive matters within the national security division, particularly on the durham investigation. for example, december 1, 2020, mrs. hennesey stated, durham has
10:12 am
made clear in a year and a half, he hasn't come up with anything. i guess this kind of partisan silliness has become characteristic of barr's legacy, unclear to me why durham would want to go along with it,nd quote. how can the american people be certain she will be fair and impartial when she is on the record making those statements? has she retracted that statement? do you intend to ask her to retract that statement? >> i have to confess, i don't think i have met mrs. hennesey. >> well, you may want to look at her, she's in your national security division and she is very much opposed to this. i want to thank you for your time, i will send a couple of questions to you for more
10:13 am
complete answers, but i associate myself with comments by my colleagues that the border issues have turned every torn into a border town and every state into a border state. the amount of drugs, the amount of trafficking that is flow nothing here, talking to local law enforcement, the way they look at the cartel, mr. attorney general, a lot needs to be done to secure this country and the parents of the kiddo necessary our school, they are not the problem. there are other problems that need your attention. >> thank you, senator. the committee will stand in recess for five minutes. >> john: all right, we'll take a recess there and get back to andy mccarthy, helping us analyze this and give us context and perspective. before we jump back into the hearing, you mentioned politici
10:14 am
politicization, department of justice, took a blow torch to the attorney general, listen to this exchange here. >> you're just a vessel, aren't you? >> not sure what you mean by that. >> national school board association sent the letter to the white house and the white house promptly called you and said, sick the f.b.i. on parents at school board hearings. that's what i mean. the white house is the puppet here, you're just the vessel. >> john: we did learn the national school board association was in touch and the letter was sent to the president on september 29th and the doj notified you better look into this and the memorandum was sent from attorney general to the f.b.i. does seem to be a lot of -- >> i think senator kennedy was
10:15 am
underscoring attorney general garland's testimony is not credible, not credible for him to say he was sitting at his desk minding his own business and decided to issue this memo. the letter from the school board the white house worked on was dated september 29th. a week later you get the memorandum from attorney general garland. garland has a lengthy career as in federal law enforcement as top official, first in clinton justice department and as distinguished judge of one of the most eminent appellate courts in the united states. he's also as attorney general got access to office of legal counsel and best, most informed minds about criminal law arkinal sis at the federal level in the justice department. this memorandum comes shortly after what he got from the school boards working with the white house, has no citation to any authority and is on a
10:16 am
subject there is no federal jurisdiction over. it is clear this was politically driven and has little to do with legitimate law enforcement. >> john: he did suggest threats sent over the internet or telephone could fall into federal jurisdiction. moreover, he said this is not about parents, this memo to the f.b.i. and doesn't have a chilling effect on free speech. do you agree or disagree with that? >> he's completely wrong about that and he knows he's wrong. john, i point out that the justice department has jurisdiction to defend the civil rights acts, which means no question the protection of americans by the federal government is federal. unlike threats at the school board level, the justice department actually has a responsibility to protect the decent of parents, if they want to object to what happens at the
10:17 am
schools. that is clearly federal. >> john: this is not just about the department of justice or the f.b.i. or attorney general, the letter went directly to the president. here is what the "wall street journal" wrote today. about domestic terrorist parents, the nsba owned up to its mistake, what about the biden administration? should the white house get involved here again apparently and say to the attorney general, the whole tone and tenor has changed, let's back off? >> in a perfect world, that would happen, john. in a perfect world, the white house would say and garland would say why lean on me to issue this in the first place. none of them want to say that, they would be admitting the biden administration was politicizing the justice department. >> it is clear, andy, there are conversations, all this over the top inflammatory language included in the letter to the
10:18 am
president and the school board association backed off, there is definitely political component. >> john: good to have you on standby, might bring you back later. sandra. >> sandra: bring in nebraska senator sass, who just questioned merrick garland. i appreciate you jumping on the camera right now. more on the memo and what we are hearing in that hearing room this morning and you and other senators pressing the attorney general on just that, here is your exchange with garland. let's play it. >> will you pledge to report back to this committee with the results of your investigation about how big a threat the american parent class is to school boards in the country? >> i will be happy to get a report back to you, this is not about the american parent. >> i know, it is about politicalization of doj and you know better. >> sandra: what struck you about
10:19 am
that exchange? >> well, that attorney general garland knows better and decided not to own up to his mistake. what he did here, ridiculous politicization. staffers at the national school board association with political hack staff and they decided to put the attorney general up to pretend there is massive conspiracy across the country against school boards and these parents who are trying to take responsible ownership for their kid's education and engage school boards there is somehow a predatory threat. it is not true. we are all against violence, we should stipulate everybody in american public life is against violence and threats of violence against school officials. he didn't have data, had political hack staff operation and decided to submit to it and he didn't own any of it. embarrassing for the attorney general. >> sandra: he said to you, i
10:20 am
will be happy to getta a report back to you, it is not about the american parents. remarkable exchange and you used the word vessel, we heard that from senator kennedy earlier. he also just said in an exchange with your republican colleague marsha blackburn, there is nothing parents should be concerned about in that memo. to that, you say what? >> one bizarre thing about buickock rase that has 100,000 attorneys, u.s. attorneys, report directly to him and u.s. attorney for montana, week after the memo decided to promulgate his own memo inside the state of montana, telling people, they should look at whether or not there are too many e-mails or phone calls sent by angry parents to school boards and use that as basis of some federal charge because the e-mail crossed lines as parents said
10:21 am
they were mad. bizarre stuff and u.s. attorney for montana acted on the memo and said how can we have a chilling effect on parents and the attorney general today showed no adult leadership, took no ownership of his actions. his team got caught being used as vessel of political staffers. >> sandra: i want to turn your attention to the questions the attorney general received on afghanistan, vetting of those that came over in withdrawal from afghanistan. senator lindsey graham had a moment where he questioned the attorney general on the al qaeda threat. listen to this moment. >> al qaeda has always presented and continue to present consistent threat to the united states homeland. >> the question is, what's changed? you say always, any recent event changed likelihood of an attack? >> i don't know.
10:22 am
>> you don't know we withdrew from afghanistan? >> i don't know if the withdrawal will increase the risk from al qaeda or not. >> sandra: we can see the senators are walking back into the room now, we'll get back to that in a moment. your response to that exchange? >> we've been voting, i wasn't in there when he had the exchange with lindsey graham, that is first time i've heard that. what utter nonsense, total bs, obviously allowing the taliban to make afghanistan again ungoverned place where organizations like al qaeda and isis-k can plot terror attacks, we know why the terror threat increased because biden decided to abandon responsibilities to thwart operations over there so they couldn't reach to here. armed services committee yesterday said administration
10:23 am
estimates, i'm on intelligence committee, not saying things, saying what collin said yesterday. 12 to 24-month window of possible attacks that could reach across the ocean from isis-k and al qaeda because biden administration abandoned their responsibility to kill terrorists over there. the attorney general knows why the threat is increased and their administration is admitting in certain context, today he decided to fumble and mumble rather than say what the priorities are. >> sandra: senator, what should the american people take away from what we've seen so far and what will this accomplish? >> well, first of all, it is personality responsibility of article one, three branches, article one is where the legislature has oversight responsibilities for article two. we pass the laws and the tern
10:24 am
general supposed to be administering the laws that deal with largest -- people face. attorney general wouldn't say what priority one, two, three are for violence and chaos at the border and cities across the country, where we've seen threats against the public order that they should be focused on and instead made themselves part of culture war that wasn't begun by the american parents speaking up, but by leftist culture warriors and parents want to speak up, they should speak up and department of justice should enforce and protect the free speech of american families. >> john: feinstein yet to go, and senator cruz from texas. back to capitol hill. >> do you agree the reforms are necessary and should this bill become law, will you commit to
10:25 am
prioritizing the implementation of requirements imposed upon the bop? >> yes and yes. >> thank you, attorney general. like to discuss with you staffing issues at the bureau of prisons. earlier this year the gao, nonpartisan independent watchdog, concluded bop lacks reliable method for assessing scope of staffing issues or impact on incarcerated population and staff of staffing issues at bop facilities, do you agree the inability to reliably measure this problem impedes bop's ability to address gaps, shortages of medical staff, shortages of personnel who will implement first step act and antirecid vism programs. will you commit to working with my office to help identify where there's gap necessary planning
10:26 am
or budgeting or personnel management or authorities that bop has? >> yes, senator, i met with comptroller general about this, the various of his reports and this one in particular and i agree this is a serious problem with the bureau of prisons, deputy attorney general has been working on this problem for quite sometime now, she has repeat meetings with the bureau of prisons to go over the issue with report to staffing and assessment and be happy to have somebody on our staff meet with your staff. >> thank you, attorney general, the inspector general has determined that bop lacks clear and consistent use of solitary confinement in bop facilities. has bop issued such a policy? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> okay, will you work with my office to determine whether they have and what need to be done to ensure they do? >> of course.
10:27 am
>> question about commercial data and use in doj investigations. in 2018, supreme court issued carpenter versus -- cell phone data and show location of device over seven-day period. this data is widely available for many use persons through data brokers and other technology companies. to your knowledge, any agencies purchase data or components purchase data or contract for services that provide device location data, is this data used in investigations or prosecutions? >> i don't believe we purchase location data, i'll be happy to look into that and get back to you on that, as well. >> i would be grateful, i think there are serious fourth amendment concerns there. i would like to discuss the fisa process with you and its report last month office of inspector
10:28 am
general noted the doj and f.b.i. had work to do to strengthen the review process for fisa application. this has become a partisan issue, it is issue of privacy, due process and integrity of the foreign intelligence surveillance court and application it receives. the ig report notes the f.b.i. has not change said the process by which supervisor for national security division reviews and documents the factual assertions made in fisa applications and i discuss this issue with matt olson before the committee for his confirmation. what steps is the doj making to make changes to the fisa recommendations? >> i completely agree this should not be a partisan issue. fisa is extraordinarily important tool for our ability to protect the country against
10:29 am
foreign enemies and on the other hand a tool that has to be dealt with the most extreme care because we have to protect the american citizens from unwarranted surveillance, nonjudicial surveillance. i take the inspector general's report extraordinarily seriously. the one refers back to events from 2020 and 2019, regardless we take this very seriously and the f.b.i. director does, as well. the national security division of the department reviews what the f.b.i. is doing with respect to fisas routinely, audits and analyzes them to be sure they are following the correct rules. and we intend to continue that kind of intensive review to ensure that internal regulations and requirements are maintained.
10:30 am
>> thank you. >> thank you, attorney general. i believe there is within the last couple of months additional recommendation or concern expressed by the ig about implementation of changes pursuant to private conclusions. >> i think this is woods files you are talking about and again -- >> that is correct. >> i quite agree that this has to be done better, but as i think he said, it is work in progress and certainly considerable more room for improvement and we are focused on making improvements. >> please know there is bipartisan concern about improvementss being implemented. thank you. press freedom, you issued memo in july prohibiting the department from using subpoenas, court orders or warrants to obtain information on confidential sources of reporters. this new policy, as defined, offers broad protection for members of the news media, does
10:31 am
not define with specificity who qualifies as members of the news media. is there a specific interpretation of that phrase that has been issues in internal department guidance? >> the answer to that is no, we have discussed this with representatives of the news media continuously and as part of our review for purposes of turning this memorandum into an organization, it is difficult to make that kind of definition. >> very important to get it right. >> i completely agree. >> i think my staff will likely ask yours for a briefing on the progress of your deliberations and will weigh in. thank you for your responses and i yield back. >> senator holley. >> on october 4 you issued unprecedented memo involving the department of justice and f.b.i. in local school districtss, school boards, nothing like it
10:32 am
in our country's history based on this letter from the national school board association that the white house was involved in writing. they retracted the letter and regret the letter, you won't retract the memo and say you have no regret defended yourself by saying you are focused on violence. the memo from your own department advising about all of the different federal causes of action that they can bring against parents that are not about violence, about harassment and intimidation. i'm looking at this memo, it identifies no fewer than 13 possible federal crimes involving harassment and intimidation, including making annoying phone calls. do you think a parent, who makes a phone call to a school board member she's elected, that
10:33 am
school board should be prosecuted? >> no, i don't and the supreme court has made clear word intimidation with respect to constitutional protection directs a threat to the person with intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm or death. prosecutors who investigate these cases know the supreme courts, this is a very famous -- >> prosecutors do, but parents don't, general garland. do you think a parent who looks at the 13 different federal crimes your justice department identified, they might be subject to and prosecuted for like making annoying phone calls, do they feel they are welcome to speak up at a school board meeting? they can be prosecuted for using the internet in way that might cause emotional threat to a victim. >> i haven't seen the memo you are talking about even from the description, doesn't sound like
10:34 am
it was addressed to parents. >> no, it was addressed to prosecutors, why haven't you seen the memo? >> i don't know why i haven't, i do not get every memo that every u.s. attorney sends out. >> wait a minute, be sure i understand this. this is a memorandum that collects 13 different federal crimes parents could be charged with, has united states department of justice on the top of it and you're telling me you haven't seen it? >> who is the memo from, senator? >> united states department of justice, district of montana. >> i have not seen a memo from district of montana. >> not high enough priority for you when you are threatening parents with 13 different federal crimes? these aren't crimes of violence, you have testified you are focused on violence, that is not what your u.s. attorneys are saying. you haven't seen it, it is not
10:35 am
high enough question of priority or what? >> no one has sent me the memo, i haven't seen it. >> you run the department of justice, do you not? >> there are 115,000 employees of the dep department of justic. >> indeed and you are in charge of every one of them. you issued a memo, you over your signature, issued memo involving the f.b.i. and the department of justice in local school boards, local school districts. your u.s. attorneys are threatening prosecution with 13 different crimes, but it is not high enough priority, it got lost in the mix? >> i've never seen the memo. >> that is what concerns me general garland. >> it wasn't sent to me, ensure your constituents what we are concerned about is violence and threats of violence. >> all i can conclude from this, is either you are not in control of your own department or that more likely what i think to be
10:36 am
the case is that you knew full well that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen when you issued your memo, when you involved the department of justice and resources and the f.b.i. and all of its resources and local school boards and school districts, you knew federal prosecutors would start collecting crimes they could use against parents. you knew they would advise state and local officialss these are all the ways parents might be prosecuted. you knew that was the likely outcome and that is what has happened and we're talking about parents like scott smith, behind me over my shoulder, father from loudoun county at a school board meeting forcibly restrained, arrested. why? because he went to elected school board meeting, he's a voter, to raise the fact that his daughter was assaulted, sexually assaulted in a girl's
10:37 am
restroom by a boy. this is what happened to him. you testified last week before the house, you didn't know anything about this case. i find that extraordinary, the letter, cites this case, it cites mr. scott's case directly. there is a news article cited in the letter. it is discussed in the letter. you testified you couldn't remember it, this will refresh your memory. do you think people like scott smith, who show up to complain about their children being assaulted ought to be treated like this man? >> people who show up are protected by the first amendment. >> do you think they ought to be prosecuted in different ways your u.s. attorneys are identifying. >> what they are doing is complaining about what the school board is doing, policy, curriculum, as long as they are not committing threats of violence, they should not be prosecuted and cannot be. >> several democratic colleagues in this hearing compared parents
10:38 am
who show up at school board meetings, compared them to criminal rioters, you think that is right? a parent who shows up and has a complaint and wants to voice that complaint and doesn't use the right grammar, they are ark kin to criminal rioters? >> i do not and i do not remember them making the comparison. >> this is like folks who came here on the riot at the capitol. >> they are not referring to the picture you are showing there. they were referring to the parents who go to school board meetings. have you weaponized the f.b.i. and the department of justice. your u.s. attorneys are collecting and cataloging the ways might prosecute parents like mr. smith because they want to be involved in their children's education and want to have a say in elected officials, it is wrong, unprecedented and i
10:39 am
call on you to resign. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for eight years under barack obama, the departments of justice was weaponized. you came before this committee in your confirm agsz hearing, i asked you, will you commit to this committee under your leadsership department of justice will not target political opponents of your administration? absolutely, it is totally inappropriate for department to target any individual because of their politics or their position in a campaign. that was your promise just a few months ago. i'm sorry to say, you have broken that promise. there is a difference between law and politics. general garland, you know the difference between law and politics. law is based on facts. it is impartial, not used as a
10:40 am
tool of political retribution. this memo was not law, this memo was politics. on wednesday, september 29, national school board association wrote a letter to the president asking the president to use the department of justice to target parents upset at critical race theory, upset as mask mandates in schools to target them as domestic terrorists. the face of the letter was repeated consultation with the white house, that was on wednesday, september 29th. five days later, on monday, right after the weekend, boom. you pop out a memo, giving them exactly what they want. by the way, i understand that, in politics that happens all the way, important special interest
10:41 am
wants something, sir, yes, sir, we are going to listen to them. let me ask you something, general garland, in the letter, you you told the house of representatives was the basis for targeting parents, how many incidents are cited in that memo? >> i have to look back through the memo. >> you don't know. how many are violent? >> again, the general report -- >> how many were violent? >> you don't know? there is a reason you don't know. because you didn't care and nobody in your office cared to find out. i did a quick count just sitting here during this hearing counted 20 incidents. 15 on their face are nonviolent, they involve insults, a nazi salute. one example. my god, a parent did a nazi salute because they thought the policies are oppressive, is that
10:42 am
protected by the first amendment? >> it is. >> okay. 15 of the 20, on the face are not violent, not threats of violence, they are parents who are unhappy. yes, when you write a memo, opening line of your memo in recent months there has been a disturbing spike in harass ment and intimidation and threats of violence. did you look up the 20 instances? >> as i testified, the decision to make, send the memo is for -- >> did you look up the 20 instans? >> i did not -- >> there is a reason, you started your career as law clerk to justice brennan, had many law clerks during the year, during your time as a judge. i was a clerk to chief justice
10:43 am
renquist, if i walked in and said there is a disturbing pattern of vilen. ted, how do you know that? i have a brief here that claims it. you would fire a law clerk who did that. you are the attorney general of the united states. this was not a tweet you sent. this is a memo to the federal bureau of investigation saying, go investigate parents as domestic terrorists. >> that is not what the memo says at all. >> is that what the letter says? >> i don't care what the letter says. >> you said it was the basis of your memo, you testified under oath the letter was the basis of your memo, now you don't care about the letter? >> the letter and public reports of violence and threats of violence, says nothing about domestic terrorism and parents. my memo is getting assessment -- >> the letter on its face says
10:44 am
actions of the parents could be equivalent to form of domestic terrorism and asks the president to use the patriot act directed at parents. this was the basis of your memo. the department of justice, when you direct the f.b.i. to engage in law enforcement, you are not behaving as a political operative, because a political ally of the president says go attack parents because we don't like what they are saying. department of justice, you did no independent research on what was happening, did you? >> the memo has nothing to do with -- >> did you do independent research? >> the memo has nothing -- >> you are not answering that question. you have testified you know nothing about the violent sexual assault that happened in loudoun county, it is one basis in the letter. >> i read about it since then.
10:45 am
>> you told the house last week you knew nothing about it. >> not at the time, no. >> this week the court concluded 14-year-old girl was violently raped by a boy wearing a skirt in the girl's restroom. the school district covered it up, released the boy, subject him to another school, where he violently raped another good. the father was the father of the first girl. do you understand why a parent would be upset when your daughter is raped at school, the school board covers it up and lies to you and claim there have been no assaults, we have no instances of assault in our bathroom, a flat out lie as the court concluded this week. do you understand why the parent would be upset? >> absolutely, protected by the first amendment. >> you just called him a domestic terrorist. >> i did not.
10:46 am
>> your letter did, you based official direction from the attorney general and i tell you what, the nsba is so embarrassed of this letter they apologized and retracted it, you don't have the same willingness to apologize and retract what you did. big part of this letter, they are upset about parents not wanting critical race theory taught. your son-in-law makes a very substantial sum of money from a company involved in the teaching of critical race theory. did you seek and receive a decision from an ethics advisor at department of justice before you carried out an action that would have a predictable financial benefit to your son-in-law. >> this is aimed at violence and threats of violence, no effect -- >> did you seek ethics opinion? you know how to ask questions
10:47 am
and answer them. >> you asked whether i sought ethics opinion about something with predictable effect on something, this has no effect in way you are talking about. >> if critical race theory is taught in schools, does your son-in-law make more money, yes or no? >> this memorandum has nothing to do -- >> with you answer if you sought ethics -- did you seek an ethics opinion? >> this memorandum -- >> did you seek an ethics opinion. are you refusing to answer? >> i'm telling you, there is no possible -- you are saying no, just answer it directly, you know how to consider a question directly. did you seek an ethics opinion? >> if i thought there was any reason to believe a conflict of interest, i would do that, i cannot -- >> why won't you just say no? >> i'm sorry. >> you will not answer the question. >> ask the question again.
10:48 am
>> did you seek an ethics opinion? >> i would seek an ethics opinion -- >> so no is the answer; correct? >> your time is up. >> the attorney general refuses to answer whether he sought ethics decision and ethics are not a high priority in the biden justice department. >> that is not a fair reflection. >> answer the question. >> senator, you have gone beyond any other senator's time. >> be respectful of other senators. >> mr. chairman, do you know the answer? >> you have exchanged that so many times, we know where we stand. now we have request for three minute rounds and i have one senator haroney, lee and booker. sorry, first of course ranking member grassley. we will stick to three minutes. been four hours since the
10:49 am
attorney general been in the chair with couple of breaks. i think we should try to wrap up if we can. >> request to put something in the record, "wall street journal" editorial titled about the domestic terrorist parents, the article notes the october 4th doj memo should be be formally rescinded. >> without objection. >> general after great deal of pressure from victims in congress, i know that you're taking another look at the department's disgusting decision not to prosecute employees for lying to government officials in the nassar investigation, do you anticipate the department will similarly expunge records of these employees like mccabe or give them get out of jail free cards as you have done so far? >> senators, as i said, we are
10:50 am
reviewing the decisions with respect to the false -- alleged false statements. that review is being done by the criminal division. >> okay. beginning in the summer of 2020, american cities began to see appalling and unprecedented strike in violent crime, murder and gang violence as liberal politicians operated under defund the police. this movement translates into over 1200 deaths in 2020 alone. in summer of 2020, then attorney general barr instituted operation legend way to combat rising spike in violent crime. this surge in federal agents was resounding success by december of 2020, over 6000 arrests made, over 2600 firearms taken off streets and approximately 467 people have been arrested for homicides. given the clear success of
10:51 am
operation legend, why is the department directing efforts toward school board meetings issue but not toward real threats and real acts of violence that happen everyday? simple question, does operation legend still exist? >> my understanding was operation legend was directed at violence over the summer of 2020. we have addressed another surge of federal prosecutorial and law enforcement efforts. last summer, we have stepped up the amount of money we're giving to state and local and increased our joint task forces together. i visited federal and state law enforcement in new york and chicago and los angeles and in san francisco, all aimed at violent crime in those areas and we've asked for consideration additional money about $1 billion in grants to fund state
10:52 am
and local police in fy 22. i think that is -- i hope that answers your question. >> only four packers, jbs, tyson, cargill and national beef control 80% of the cattle market. these companies host tremendous market power. justice department issued civil investigative demand in may 2020, but we've yet to learn anything from the investigation, could you provide update and commit to expediting this investigation so our cattle producers know whether there are any anti-trust violation? >> i can't discuss the specific investigations, we have longstanding policies against that. i can tell you that the anti-trust division is aggressively concerned with competition in the market that you described. we are also in frequent consultation with agkwultureal
10:53 am
department with regard to stockyard and packers act. regard this as area we have to be very much concern about anticompetitive behavior. >> thank you. senator. >> senator, i think your mic is not turned on. >> one thing i have to say, we learn to going on hour three is that the republicans, once they focus on something, they stick with it. it is amazing there is mixed mischaracterizing of the attorney general's memo and a letter from the acting u.s. attorney of montana and and his letter is also totally mischaracterized as to what the focus of the attorney general's letter is. i would like to submit for the
10:54 am
record the acting attorney, u.s. attorney of montana's letter. >> without objection. >> it is pretty -- kind of ark mazing, not unusual republican colleagues continue to focus on something that the attorney general has to continue to testify for the last three hours, whatever it is, that his letter is being mischaracterized and focus on that at the same time, what is real problem is the fact that we have 530 voter suppression bills introduced in 47 states vast majority by republican legislators and people votes are being stolen through the voter suppression actions. do we hear word one about the fact that this is happening all across the country that voter suppression is happening, does a
10:55 am
single republican even care about that? no. so let that sink in. they talk about all of these memos and mischaracterizing and what is actually happening in voter suppression, not a peep. i want to ask you, mr. attorney general, shelby county got the rights act and followed by brenovic, comes up with guide posts. the justice department now has to prove in order to protect our right to vote. can you just tell us what the impact of the supreme court shelby county decision has been on the justice department's ability to protect our right to vote? and is there something we can do, are there tools that we can
10:56 am
provide through congressional action to enable you to protect our right to vote? is >> yes, senator. the right to vote is fundamental pillar of american democracy. the voting rights act is one of the greatest statutes ever passed. it enabled the justice department to protect people's right to vote and go against discrimination based on race, ethnicity with patterns or practices with respect to voting. in shelby county, the most important tool we have, section five allowed free clearance by justice department or allowed the state to go to federal court to get clearance and that left us with circumstance of having to examine each case one by one with the burden on the justice department. so one thing that the congress could do is put section five
10:57 am
back in place as supreme court indicated could be done with appropriate legislative record. secon bernavery close ic interpreted section two in way justice department disagrees with, as we made clear in the papers, not saying anything we didn't say in the supreme court argument. narrowed in way not consistent with intent and makes our ability to challenge discriminatory challenges in voting more difficult. congress could affix that by bringing back section two to what congress originally intended in statutory language. both changes are important from justice department success in protecting right to vote. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, it is clear we will do the thing the attorney
10:58 am
general recommends without a single republican going in that direction, that is how pathetic it all is. >> senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. attorney general garland, i find it deeply concerning that you still haven't cited a single example of true threat of violence. if i'm understanding this correctly and i've been here for most of this. had to 12e7 out to vote a couple times. i think you seem to admit, you didn't do any independent research outside of receiving the september 29th national school board association letter. one thing i find perplexing and troubling, this came in, it was sent on september 29th, a wednesday, following monday, just days later, barely over a weekend, you responded with your memo relying on the nsba memo.
10:59 am
now i submit as a member of the judiciary committee with oversight responsibility over your department, submit request for information all the time. it takes time, i understand that, sometimes it takes months to get a response back. i'm grateful when i get a response back. i understand people are busy and have a lot of stuff to comply with. if one association can send one letter without any independent research on your part and within days barely over a weekend, get not just a response, but an action memo signed by the attorney general of the united states, i think that is weird and makes me uncomfortable. national school board association as i understand it, had publicly stated they had been coordinating with officials at the white house on this for weeks. it doesn't feel right, doesn't
11:00 am
seem right to me. last week, two of our counterparts committee asked about number of people entering the united states illegally. that is a lot, a lot of people. of 1.3 million, i'm quite confident based on my own past experience as federal prosecutor, quite confident that some noninsignificant portion of those will have previously been deported and as you know under eight usc section 1326, that is federal felony offense. reentry after previous deportation. have you had a chance to identify how many prosecutions have been brought for illegal reentry this year? and i'd be curious about that, i'd be curious as to whether
11:01 am
there is anything arkinal -- analogous over illegal reentry. >> so on that question, the 1.3 million are arrested made by cdp. they are referred, cdp make kuft customs and border patrol make decision whether to refer them to proceedings or justice department for prosecution. we have this year, charged thousands of cases, thousands of criminal cases with respect to violations of the immigration laws with respect to crossing of borders. i don't have the exact number, the number is in the thousands. >> when the department becomes focused on things not part of its business, harassing, intim
11:02 am
datsidating moms and dads of america to neighbors, friends and those who represent them on the school board, they lose focus on things only the federal government can do, like controlling border from the dangerous effects of illegal immigration and reentry in particular. thank you. >> take it senator cruz and cotton are seeking three-minute rounds, is this correct? senator booker, as well. senator booker. >> fourth amendment reads in recent months there has been disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threat against school administrators, teacherss and staff who participate in vital work of running our nation's public schools, is that true? >> yes, sir. >> it is true. >> it is true. i have a list of very disturbing incidents. in texas, parent assaulted a teacher. august 18th, 2021. in pennsylvania, a person posted threats requiring police to
11:03 am
station outside of a school district. law enforcement investigating the person. i could keep going, ohio, threatening letter which began with we are coming for you. domestic terrorism from united states, more from overseas, radical terrorists or more from homegrown terrorists, most being right wing extremists, which has been greater since 9/11. >> i want to be careful about that, the threats we face with respect to terrorism and none of those descriptions have to do with terrorism, but the threats we face in the united states come both from foreign terrorists -- >> a church in south carolina, a synagogue in pennsylvania, a school, parkland, a school, newtown, has there been threats and violence against schools in the united states of america? >> there have been . >> coming from what groups?
11:04 am
>> domestic groups. >> has there been a long, pages long list of what my staff can grab, threats and violence against school officials in the united states of america in the last year? >> i haven't seen the list, but it accords with my recollection. >> the letter that i heard so much about that i pulled it to read it. you say literally, threat -- spiritted debate about policy matters is protected under the constitution. i'm quoting a colleague today, does that sound like harassing and intimidating moms and dads? you affirm that spiritted debate is allowed. while spiritted debate about policy matters is protected under the constitution. that protection does not extend to threats and violence that we've been watching on our tv screens.
11:05 am
intimidating people, threatening to hurt them, taking physical action, but you know what, you did not call for the doj and the f.b.i. to monitor school board meetings, did you? >> i did not. >> you did not call for anyone to invoke the patriot act, did you? >> i did not. >> sir, what you called is for the doj to convene meetings to discuss strategies for addressing threats. >> that is correct. >> is that intimidating moms and dads going to school board meetings? >> i can't see how that can be interpreted like this. >> i know something about law enforcement intimidation, it stems from growing up as a black man in america. i know what it feels like to be pulled over, to be accused of stealing things, to every time i trief over the george washington
11:06 am
bridge as a teenager, to know i had to put extra time because i was being pulled over by law enforcement. if someone was to read the actual letter, you are literally saying as a leader of the highest law enforcement office in the land, that you protect spirited debate, that you think, though, given the climate of school violence in america, i met with victims from parkland, mr. president, i'm sorry, i have watched republican after republican go over time and i know you're gently banging that gavel, i watched all today. my colleagues violate what you said was a strict time limit and i would ask you to afford me two more minutes. >> is there objection? >> no objection.
11:07 am
>> have you met with parkland survivors? >> i met with survivors at the white house. >> yes or no? >> you have met with survivors of school violence. >> i think i met with the parkland families. >> yes. do you have a responsibility in a climate of threats and violence taking place at schools, do you have a responsibility to convene strategy meetings to try to make sure we do not have eruptions of violence in the country, is that responsibility of the federal government? >> yes, our job is to protect americans. >> did you specifically say anything in this letter that can be seen as harassing moms and dads and parents or did you explicitly say that the constitution protects spirited debate? >> i specifically said
11:08 am
constitution protects spirited debate and i don't think anything in this letter could be read to intimidate mothers and fathers. >> and i'm not talking about the outrage machine that fuels politics on both sides. i'm talking about the actual letter here, sir, that you wrote. you're a good-hearted person, is there anything in this letter that could specifically lead a good-hearted parent who is against mask mandates, who somehow believes that the teaching of racial discrimination is repugnant to them, is there anything in this letter prevent them from going and speaking to it and yelling and being upset and letting elected officials know, anything in the print of this letter that could be lead to that type of intimidation? >> no, senator, those things are protected by the constitution. >> say that one more thing. >> all those things are protected by the constitution. i hope you will do your law
11:09 am
enforcement work, there is too much violence in this country. too many domestic terrorist attacks, i don't want to have the next hearing be about some incident, continue to convene your strategy sessions to protect parents and children and school officials from any kind of heinous vilen we've seen too much of in this country and we all bear a responsibility for stopping. thank you for allowance of extra time. >> thank you. senator cruz. >> we talked a minute about about the difference in law and politics. we heard a question that was asked by my friend from new jersey, anything in this memo to tell a parent they are being targeted for harassment and intimidation? i would note the letter from the school board cited 20 instances, 15 of which were nonviolent. letter described them as
11:10 am
domestic terrorism. within days, the department of justice snapped to command of special interest and directed memo to the department of justice and f.b.i., where law matters. opening sentence describes a disturbing spike in harrassment, intimidation and threats of violence. you spent a long time as a judge, when you have three things listed, am i correct anyone interpreting that, reading it, would conclude that harassment and intimidation are something different than threats of violence given you listed them out separately, consistent with construction? >> the memorandum addressed to professional pos cuters. i asked a question, not who it was -- not when he answered a nonsek wittor. >> you are taking my time now, this is not coming out of my time. >> we've given you more time than any senator.
11:11 am
allow him to respond. >> when i ask a question, he can answer, he is proceeding to ask a total, cannon of construction -- >> please let him respond. >> i will ask the question again. the opening line of the memo specifies harassment, intimidation and threats of violence, is it correct under ordinary cannon of construction reader would understand harassment and intimidation means something different from violence? >> virginia versus black, supreme court, definition of intimidation and legal reader would know 18 usc 2161 a, definition of harassment. >> would a parent? >> this is not addressed to parents. >> parents read it, you said you can't think of anything harassing, you directed the f.b.i. to go after parents. let's move to a different topic. we've sadly seen that you are
11:12 am
willing to use the enforcement power of the department of justice to target those with political views different from you, even if it is a mom at a pta meeting. are you willing to enforce the law fairly to political allies of the president? senator hearing in may dr. fauci said "nih has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the wuhan institute," under oath, under testimony. october 20th, principal deputy director contradicted it, the two statements cannot be true, section 1001 makes it a federal crime to knowingly make false statements to congress as department of justice investigating dr. fauci for lying to congress and will you appoint a special prosecutor to do so? >> the memorandum that i issued is not partisan in any way, has
11:13 am
nothing to do with what i agree or disagree with. i don't care if violence come from left or right. >> can you answer the question i asked. >> we don't comment on criminal investigations or other investigations. >> amazingly, when it is the political enemy of the administration, you comment loudly in a memo. president biden recently said in national town hall that police officers who decline to get vaccinated should be fired. do you agree with president biden on that? >> i think all police -- look, i stood on the stage at the mall where the 700 police officers died this year -- >> let me try again, do you agree with the president. it is yes or no, you know how to get a yes or no, do you agree? >> large percentage of law officers who died this year died from covid-19. >> do you agree police officers
11:14 am
who decline to get vaccinated -- yes or no? you agree with the president? in chicago, a third of the police officers did not file their vaccination status, do you think chicago should fire a third of the police officers when murder rates and crime rates are skyrocketing. >> determination the city of chicago would have to make? >> do you agree with the president? the president said yes, do you agree with joe biden saying fire police officers, despite sky rocketing crime rate. >> that is a question, one of state law and will be decided by the state. >> you have no view? >> senators, your time has expired. >> you used two minutes of it. >> i did not. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for being here mr. attorney general. i'm going to shift topics to an issue that i know you are
11:15 am
familiar with, 9/11 families and the state secrets privilege. and i want to just say i was encouraged and pleased when president biden issued executive order requiring department of justice to complete review of documents sought by 9/11 survivors. they are in court now taking advantage of the overwhelmingly approved measure that gives if the courts jurisdiction over their claims for the harm they suffered when their loved ones were killed during the 9/11 attack. i was glad to see that the f.b.i. has released at least one document on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 deaths. i still am focused on the state
11:16 am
secrets privilege. envocation of it in past years, overuse of it. in fact, the trump justice department failed to provide meaningful justification for withholding these documents from the 9/11 families and we see now there was no justification. i know the department's review is ongoing and that you will continue to disclose, i hope as much information as possible, as swiftly as possible. just to address the department's use of the privilege more broadly, the memo requires the department of justice to provide periodic reports to congress identifying cases where the privilege is enfolked and explaining the basis for invoking it, i sent a letter earlier this month about reporting requirement because this committee received only two
11:17 am
reports 2011 and 2015 and in the six years since the department of justice failed to provide such reports. just to come to the point, i am respectfully asking for commitment that you will provide these periodic reports to congress and review the department's policies with respect to its invoking the state secret privilege so to comply with 2009 memo that may have gone too quickly over the various actions of the department, i'm referring to the 2009 memo, requires periodic reportss. in eight seconds i have left. >> answer to both, yes, we are reviewing that memo and if anything, we will strengthen it and intend to make periodic reports and it is not periodic
11:18 am
report to not have made a response since 2015, i ensure you, yes. >> senator cotton. >> judge, return to our exchange this morning, i reflected on it, you made a shocking admission, you issued this memo sicking the feds on parents at school boards on monday october 4. you acknowledge there was no effort in department of justice, no initiative to draft this memo or create task forces before wednesday, september 29th, when the national school board association issued that letter, is that correct? >> i don't know, all i know, first time i started working on this, was after receiving the letter. >> from your standpoint, you are not aware of any effort before the letter was sent on september 29th. >> i think it is fair to say this letter, as you are suggesting and other public notices of violence against school board members and
11:19 am
teachers are what form the basis for this memo. >> this memo is october 4 with your signature on it. did you sign it? >> i did. >> four intervening days, two of which were weekend days, that is landspeed record for the government. mr. grassley said you have not responded to letters of his outstanding for months. why did you move so quickly on -- reputeiated and apologized for sending the department that letter? >> organization that represents thousands of school board members. >> proport to represent thousands because state school boards across the country have been trying to withdraw their membership and withdrew their own letter. who brought this to your attention? >> may i ask the question.
11:20 am
you asked a question, the question is why speed in the answer is when we get reports of violence and threats of violence, we need to act swiftly. hate to have gotten the letter and acts of violence occur before we were able to act. only act is assessing the circumstances that is all there is here and we can't wait until somebody dies. >> you keep citing media reports, 24 incidents in that letter, almost all of them were nonviolent. >> those are not reports i was referring to. >> you said earlier news reports, what other reports you saw were you basing this memo on. >> i don't recall them specifically, i have seen people saying they are repeating what they said before. >> that is all after the fact, doesn't know your frame of mind on october 4, who brought this memo to you and asked you to sign it? >> nobody brought the memo to
11:21 am
me. >> somebody had to bring it to your attention, we're about to sick the feds on the parents. >> that is not accurate. >> lisa monaco? >> this memo went through the normal processes within the department and i worked on it myself. >> someone was a proponent, i'll bet you didn't write the first draft on this. >> i didn't. i worked on this memorandum and it represents my views and reading of the materials. >> did it come from gupta's office? >> this memo reflects my view and i stand behind it and continue to stand behind it. >> are you aware of members of your department of justice and white house leading up to that -- >> there were no conversations with me, i'm sure there were conversations, it is perfectly
11:22 am
appropriate when the white house receives a letter calling for law enforcement response, not with respect to a specific case, for the white house to have conversations with the justice department. >> are you aware of conversations between your department and white house officials and members of the school board association all cooperating together, which is why you were able to move in four days, judge, two which were weekends? >> as i said, i am sure there are conversations with the white house, no idea if there were conversations with the school board association. >> i'll bet we will find out that there were. >> there is nothing wrong with there being such discussions. not investigating a particular person or prosecute any particular person in the same way you ask me to worry about violence in the streets, it is appropriate for the white house to urge me to worry about violence in the streets. same way perfectly appropriate for the white house or any other
11:23 am
organization to urge me to worry about election threats. nothing i knew about this organization to suggest it is any way partisan. it is a national school board association, i certainly never in my mind viewed that as a partisan organization. >> now they reputeiated their organization, why don't you say -- >> they didn't reputiated their letter, they reputiated language in the letter. -- core concern of the justice department, that is why. >> thank you. senator blackburn has asked for three minutes and i will conclude with my own three minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. attorney general garland, you just told me you don't think you met susan hennesey. did you hire susan hennesey? >> i have sign off authority for
11:24 am
everybody in the justice department. that is best i can very with respect to that. the question you are worried about senator had to do with durham. as i explained, she has nothing to do with the durham investigation. >> were you unaware of her comments before you hired her? >> you don't know? >> i hire 115,000 people in the justice department. >> i'm fully aware of that. it is ark mazing to us those 115,000 people can't investigate things like crime on the border, can't investigate crime on the streets and i'm going to return to the memo of october 4, the memorandum cites harassment, intimidation and threats of violence. and what i'd like to know is who chose that language? harassment, intimidation and threats of violence? you said this reflected your
11:25 am
views, but it has become apparent that you did not write this memo yourself. so i would like to know who came up with that language? was that yours or submitted language? >> so i don't know whether this is language that law enforcement officers are very well understand, it is contained in the federal statute and in the supreme court. >> house judiciary committee you said you were concerned only about true threats. are you going to revise your memorandum to make it clear this applies only to true threats of violence, instead of classifying parents in this country with domestic terrorists suchtimothy
11:26 am
mcvey and terry nichols. you said your memo was based on the nsb a letter and the news reports, so you have said there was not a lot of independent research done by you and your staff. if you would please submit to us for the record, the news reports that you're referencing so we will be able to have that as a frame of reference. also we would love to know who actually did write that memo and how they came up with the idea of calling parents domestic terrorists? one other thing i've got for you, do you agree with the supreme court second amendment is a civil right? if so, what is civil rights division doing to ensure it is being protected? >> so back up on some questions, the memo doesn't say anything about domestic terrorism or
11:27 am
calling parents domestic terrorists. i do agree second amendment is part of bill of rights and is civil right. the civil rights division has generalized authorities and specific statutory authorities. i don't know if there is authority with respect to the second amendment that has been given by congress to the civil rights division, i'm not aware of one. there may be, not aware of it. >> we can depend on you and your department of justice to stand in support of the second amendment, is that what you are saying? to defend it? >> yes, of course, it is part of bill of rights. >> what we would like to know and look forward to other submissions in writing. >> thank you, senator. mr. attorney general, thank you for your patience, you have been sitting in that care, with couple breaks for four and a half hours, many of these colleagues of mine have had
11:28 am
ample opportunity to ask questions and come back and ask some more, sometimess the same questions. i would like to make this observation, i understand why you issued that memo. i wish my colleagues would reflect for a single moment as to why that memo is important, not just for school board members but to send message across america there is a line we're going to draw when it comes to political expression. when you say words, wave your arms, that is all protected, when you threaten with violence or acts of violence that will never be protected and shouldn't be. it is not that long gabby gifford was gunned down, her husband is her colleague in the united states. we should never countenance that as adequate or proper political expression. steve scalise, republican
11:29 am
congressman from indiana, gunned down on baseball practice field by someone from my state, i believed identified with the left in politics. it doesn't make any difference, it was outrage that good man has suffered because of it. we have the story in great britain, david amos, goess to town meeting and is stabbed to death in his constituency in england. even if we disagree on issues to a great degree, agree with the premise anyone who engages in violence or threats of violence stepped over the line whether they come from the right or left, i think that is what you were trying to say in your memo about the school board. i've never heard the school board identified as great, strong, special interest group, i haven't seen that in years i've been in congress and there are many great, strong special interest groups. thank you for doing that, it was
11:30 am
the right thing to do, it's been mischaracterized and disported not only today, but since then. we can prove by our actionss, we are not trying to stifle free speech, saying to people we will draw a line. it is fascinating one of the people criticizing today and in talking about the situation on january 6, was actually chairing the demonstrators on january 6. there is ample evidence of that. i would think we got to draw a line that accepts in this civilized society we're going to be respectful of one another even if we disagree politically. thank you for your testimony, would you liketo have a closing comment? >> no, i appreciate your remarks, thank you. >> thank you very much. committee stands adjourned. >> sandra: senator judiciary committee wrapping hours of testimony by the attorney general, merrick garland feisty as times, bring in republican
11:31 am
senator tom tillis, he was in the room and questioned garland. get to one question you had about school board meetings and whether or not we are seeing overreach on behalf of the doj. listen to this. >> did the doj do real work outside of the public reporting to say there is disturbing trend that require overreach on behalf of the doj? >> what we looked at was letter from an organization that represents thousands of school board members and school boards and public reports of threats of violence. >> sandra: senator, did you get answers to your questions? >> no, i didn't. it was clearly motivated by the letter from the school board association and it was an overreach. the point i was trying to make is chilling effect on parents who should feel comfortable going to school board meet.
11:32 am
no question people will think twice when they think they have the watchful eye of the f.b.i. overlooking everything they say. school board meetings can get heated. i've been pta president and i believe they should withtrau the memo and stand back. >> john: senators followed the same line of questioning asking whether or not they did research into the incidents cited in this letter. one of them say nothing virginia, an individual was arrested, citation that takes you to news report, the interview was scott smith who was upset the school board lied to him about his daughter being raped in the restroom of the school. cory booker mentioned incidents handled by local police and tried to link those to the terrorism, which the attorney general himself pushed back against. >> the problem with the testimony today, we didn't get
11:33 am
answers to any questions. the bottom line is this administration views the parents influence over their children's education as being secondary to the will and whims of school board members. that is wrong and people of america are waking up and you are seeing in virginia and the governor's race, people waking up to the fact this administration is casting blind eye toward the parent over needs of the school board members. it is wrong. i think they will have a consequence for it. >> sandra: john mentioned senator ted cruz, heated exchange with the attorney general there, here he was specifically on the instance in loudoun county. listen. >> do you understand why a parent would be upset when your daughter is raped at school, school board covers it up and lies to you and claim no assaults, we have no instances
11:34 am
of assault in our bathroom, and that was a lie as court concluded this week? >> absolutely and expressions are protected by the first amendment. >> sandra: what did you take away from the exchange. >> i don't know what happened to loudoun county, they have completely dismissed legitimate safety concerns. we had a young girl raped by a boy dressed as a female in the girl's restroom, you would have thought they would have focused on safety and security of the child and broader population, but it didn't fit with their agenda, they cast it ark side and got caught. >> john: the big question is whether or not the department of justice has been politicized, josh josh hawley claims weaponized for political
11:35 am
purposes. let me read from the top of the nsba letter and the letter from the attorney general to the u.s. attorneys across nation. >> john: first line, first sentence of the memo from attorney general, in recent months has been disturbing spike in threats of violence. the language is virtually identical here. is department of justice in your estimation acting politically? >> they did in this case and we could talk about a number of other examples. this came in on thursday or friday and the memo came out on monday and even the attorney general said he was relying on public reporting. relying on this letter that got it out the door quickly, didn't do their homework and i asked the department to report back to me if there is a disturbing
11:36 am
trend. incidents they noted, two thirds or more of them had no claims of any sort of physical contact or altercation. they used the letter from the school board association to craft a memo with the department of justice within a matter of a couple days. and i have letters outstanding on dangerous situations i can't get answers to, that seems political to me. >> sandra: you asked the attorney issue about border issues, here is a bit of it, listen. >> we have almost 1.5 million asylum cases on the docket and takes years to complete them. 80% of them are adjudicated as not having a valid claim. doesn't that data lead you to suggest the asylum system is being abused, data from the doj?
11:37 am
>> the purpose of ark -- asylum adjudication is to allow asylum. this is statutory claim -- >> mr. garld, we have a problem at the border and the doj has to recognize part of the problem you'll have to fix. >> sandra: do you have confidence after that exchange that that will happen? >> none whatsoever, no way the attorney general can't know that got aways are crossing the border every night, not people looking for border agents, they are evading law enforcement because they are bad people. two or three a night, thousands per month making our nation less safe and making minority neighborhoods and communities the least safe. gang members, drug traffickers,
11:38 am
human traffickers, people with criminal records coming across the border and without any real risk of being caught. we're getting flooded with tens of thousands everyday engaging border security agents. pipeline of criminals coming across the border every single night. this attorney general didn't seem to have his finger on the pulse of the problem. it will get worse. we are expecting two million more before the end of the year. >> john: if i could senator, come back to the school board before we leave you. something that cory booker, senator from new jersey, said, he tried to bring up domestic terrorism as they pointed out before, shot down by the attorney general, didn't think incidents amounted to domestic terrorism and senator booker tried to link school shootings to this process, including parkland shooting.
11:39 am
unless i'm wrong, cruz was mentally ill and no connection to people being upset by the school board. the attorney general has said this is not domestic terrorism, your colleagues in the senate are trying to make it so, what does that say to parents across the nation? >> i just think in that particular case no honest person could have said those things and left that out there, we saw that in the hearing today. they're trying to demonize legitimate free speech. if somebody breaks a law, if someone threatens somebody else, they should be held accountable, just like in portland and seattle and across the country last year. have not heard from department of justice, they talk about investigation, i'm okay with, on the january 6 event. we're hearing nothing about
11:40 am
thousands that burned buildings and hurt agentss last year. it is disturbing. >> sandra: senator tom tillis fresh out of the hearing room, we appreciate your time. thank you. joining us is fox news contributor, ari fleischer. your takeaway from the line of questioning and responses from the attorney general? his memorandum did not use domestic terrorism nor did it base on the patriot act. the problem the attorney general had is when he received a letter with the white house inputs that used domestic terrorism and prosecution based on the patriot act, he needed to say this goes too far, the language is too long, i will not give the group
11:41 am
that sought the memo what they want, they don't have control of the facts. he should have said no initially from the 125r9 -- white house and the national school board. he's got the headache he has because he commingleded the issues. there is one question that lingers after watching today's hearing. who at the white house was involved in this? we need to know, this is where politicization did come into play and that could never happen. who was involved, what are their names? >> you saw senator cruz lay in on it is attorney general in series of questions. played specific moment we brought up loudoun county in the case there. there was this moment on the memo. more from ted cruz, listen. >> your memo, in recent months,
11:42 am
there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence. you didn't look and nobody on your staff looked. did you look up the 20 instances? >> as i testified, the decision to make and send the memo -- >> did you look up the 20 instances? >> i did not. >> did anybody on your staff look it up? >> you did no independent research on what was happening, did you? >> memo has nothing to do -- >> did you did research? >> the memo has nothing -- >> you are not answering the question. >> sandra: quite a moment, ari fleischer. >> republicans are rooiled up about this, many people are riled up about it, this markens back to the tea party movement of 2010, never seen such a spontaneous uprising of government officials aimed at school boards and parents have a
11:43 am
right to say what they want and speak out. the question here is why did merrick garland do this? it is alarming. justice does not move that fast unless the white house tells them to move that fast. politicization of the department of justice. >> john: i was about to play sound byte number six here, merrick garland responding to question about whether or not this memo had a chilling effect on parents. listen here.
11:44 am
>> you are intelligent and accomplished lawyer and judge, you can answer the question. did you answer the chilling effect this sort of threat of federal prosecution would have on parent's exercise of constitutional right to be involved in children's education? >> don't believe it is chilling anyone's rightss. it is about threats of violence and recognize constitutional right to make arguments about your children's education. >> john: same time, merrick garland did not know about this, u.s. attorney for state of montana issued memorandum, josh hawley points to, upon which people could face charges. does it have a chilling effect or not have a chilling effect? >> of course it has a chilling effect. department of justice says it will investigate something, that will chill.
11:45 am
i had parents in vermont tell me they know people going to school board meetings who decided now it is not worth it, they don't want to get into entanglement with the department of justice. this is why if you thought merrick garland was a decent man, nonpolitical man, he's ruined reputation and that name by allowing himself to issue that, he should have said no. >> sandra: josh hawley's exchange was about relationshipization of the doj, went as far as to call on merrick garland to resign, listen. >> u.s. attorneys are collecting and cataloging the ways might prosecute parents like mr. smith because they want to be involved in their children's education and have a say in elected officials. it is wrong, unprecedented in the history of this country and i call on you to resign. >> sandra: there were multiple
11:46 am
calls for that. many exchanges like that, ari. >> i'm not a fan on people calling on other people to resign, it is political exclamation point, i get it. i rather deal with issues presented by the memorandum and where justice has a lot of cleaning up to do and white house has a lot of cleeping -- cleaning up to do. it is a serious matter, they are only going after people -- why is the agency inside the department of justice, why is it same agency responsible for domestic terrorism, chinese spies, agency merrick garland decided to lead the investigation into people who may commit violence. if violence is committed, it is up to sheriff, state police to take action, action should be
11:47 am
taken against anybody that commits violence. not under purview of the department of justice and especially not intelligence agencies or division that focuses on counter terrorism. >> national security division and as cory booker said in his lengthy citation of incidents at school board meetings, they were handled by the local, not the feds. great to see you, thanks for coming in. >> thank you, ari. bring in andy mccarthy, former u.s. attorney for new york and fox news contributor. he joined us at the top of the 1:00 hour, we are bringing you back, i will put the question ari asked you, why would garland put the national security division in charge, that is in charge of looking to domestic terrorism -- >> only sensible reason is because this is sheer politics,
11:48 am
this was never going to result in actual indictment of parents, but what they have done by citing the national security division and sicking the f.b.i. on the investigations and encouraging them to conduct the investigations is make parents think that if they participate they will be the subject of an investigation, they may have to endure the prohibitive expense of retaining council. they may have employment implications because other people won't want to be associated with them if they think the f.b.i. will think they are in conspiracy. the whole idea, it is not so much ark bus -- abuse of prosecutorial, it is gross abuse of investigative authority they have no jurisdiction to bring criminal indictment, but they
11:49 am
are giving parentsspecter of being subjects of an f.b.i. investigation. >> john: andy, this is admittedly a political question, not a legal one. what ari fleischer said, democrats issue the white house saw what was happening in school board meetings, maybe this idea, nip this in the bud, get the doj to take this on, perhaps they were looking at chilling effect to dissuade people from doing this, rather than niping it in the bud, they would appear to unleash fierce political fire storm across country when it comes to independent voters who care about their child's education and conservative voters. >> john, that is so right, when you do the wrong thing, especially when the law is involved, you want the justice
11:50 am
department to stay in its lane and stay out of politics and want federal law enforcement to be consumed with what there is plenty of, federal crime. we have unsafe border at time when remarkably a school board association can write a letter to the white house and four days later have memo from the attorney general. i think people look at that and say ain't right. >> sandra: that happened, andy mccarthy, appreciate you joining us. thank you. while that was happening, we were monitoring a lot of breaking news during the testimony. we have a fresh update on alec baldwin's movie set shooting that killed a member of the film crew, officials talking about potential charges in the case, what they had to say about the potential for charges against alec baldwin himself, we'll have that for you next.
11:51 am
homeowners. ws for ven newday's refi rate is the lowest in their history. two and a quarter percent. just 2.48 apr. one call can save you thousands every year. and it's easy. there's no money out of pocket and no upfront fees. and while some banks are raising their rates, newday is holding the line for veterans. lock in your rate.
11:52 am
what's the #1 retinol brand used most by dermatologists? it's neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair® smooths the look of fine lines in 1-week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena® mission control, we are go for launch. ♪♪ t-minus two minutes and counting. ♪♪ um, she's eating the rocket. -copy that, she's eating the rocket. i assume we needed that? [chomping sound] ♪♪ lunchables! built to be eaten. she has eaten the rocket. [girl burps] over. ♪♪ we believe everyone deserves to live better. and just being sustainable isn't enough. our future depends on regeneration.
11:53 am
that's why we're working to not only protect our planet, but restore, renew, and replenish it. so we can all live better tomorrow. ♪♪ if you used shipgo this whole thing wouldn't be a thing. yeah, dad! i don't want to deal with this. oh, you brought your luggage to the airport. that's adorable. with shipgo shipping your luggage before you fly you'll never have to wait around here again. like ever. that can't be comfortable though. the smart, fast, easy way to travel.
11:54 am
11:55 am
11:56 am
>> sandra: all options on the table. that's from the district attorney in new mexico when asked whether alec baldwin could face charges on the "rust" set. >> john: jonathan hunt asked the question. he's live at the sheriff's office in santa fe with the very latest on all of this. jonathan, what did we learn today? >> we got a lot of news out of the press conference that wrapped a short time ago, john. chief among the headlines, it was indeed a live round that was fired from the gun alec baldwin was holding. why do the sheriff and the d.a. know that? because they found the bullet. let's face it, that's what a live round is, a bullet in laymen's terms lodged in the shoulder of the director, joel souza. so they have that bullet in
11:57 am
their possession. it went through halyna hutchins and into joel souza's shoulder. the sheriff talked about complacency on the set surrounding the handling of weapons. so i asked the d.a. in the light of that, are there criminal charges pending? is alec baldwin himself on the hook for any of those charges? listen to the full exchange here. >> all options are on the table at this point. i'm not commenting on charges whether they will be filed or not or on whom. so the answer is, we cannot answer that question yet until we complete a more thorough investigation. >> [question inaudible] >> nobody has been ruled out at this point. >> now, given that the sheriff had talked about complacency in the handling of the weapons and given the assistant director david halls has admitted that he
11:58 am
did not check the gun, i also asked the d.a. if there was legally speaking a bridge from complacency to criminal negligence. here's what she said to that. >> there is a bridge in it. there will take many more facts before we can it go to that criminal negligence standard. again, they're gathering that as we speak. >> complacency in itself does not amount to criminal behavior? >> i can't say that without specifically legally researching that. my off-the-cuff answer is no. >> now, there may obviously be some time before we know for sure whether any criminal charges will be filed. it will be a long likely an investigation, but the family of halyna hutchins, john and sandra, are looking at a civil suit. that is likely to run into
11:59 am
multimillion dollar figures when it comes. john and sandra? >> john: the sheriff said in the investigation that they found a lot of rounds, some were blanks, which is a charge without a bullet. some were dummy rounds, which is a slug without a charge. some were live rounds. what would live rounds be doing on a movie set? >> that is among the chief questions that have to be answered. 500 rounds in all. not all live rounds. the fact that any live rounds could be near a movie set is unheard of. that will be an absolute focus of this investigation. who brought the live rounds and who handled them before one of them parentally got into the gun that fired the fatal shot. john? >> sandra: you got the sense from listening to that news conference, there's a lot of news, not taking away from that, all options on the table as far as charges. you have the sense that they're still in the beginning stages of
12:00 pm
the investigations. thanks, >> sure. >> sandra: all right. well, he had a chance to get a couple questions in there. we'll see if we get another update. >> john: good to be with you. i'm taking the next couple days off to walk my older daughter down the aisle. >> sandra: congratulations to the father of the bride and her. i'm sandra smith. >> john: i'm john roberts. stove starts rights now. >> martha: have a great wedding, john. i'm martha maccallum in new york. the big question this afternoon is, we have moore on a live demonstration on the new developments that we just learned about. the firearms and the ammo that were believed to be in alec baldwin's hands. an analysis of what kind of bullets that could be in that weapon.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on