U.S. Representative Victoria Spartz (R-IN) delivered a blistering critique of Attorney General Merrick Garland and his department’s handling of various issues, including the January 6th Capitol riot and the Durham report, during a GOP-led House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Spartz, who grew up in Ukraine, drew a chilling parallel between the fear Americans have of the FBI and the fear Soviet citizens had of the KGB – the notorious Soviet security agency.
During the hearing, Spartz confronted Garland directly, asking him if he was aware that many Americans are afraid of being prosecuted by his department. Garland’s response was less than satisfactory, as he seemed to deflect the question by blaming “constant attacks” on the department.
“You had a very moving statement about your grandparents coming here from Belarus to live in the country without fear of prosecution. I grew up in a very similar country, Ukraine now. When I came here as a young person, I believed in the value as an American not to be afraid of my government. But I wanted to tell you, and I want to share with you and get your thoughts on that. Are you aware that a lot of Americans are now afraid of being prosecuted by your department? Are you aware about that?” Spartz asked.
“I think that constant attacks on the department and saying it’s not attacks,” Garland responded, struggling to articulate a coherent answer.
Spartz then cited the events of January 6th as an example, arguing that while some individuals had bad intentions (FBI Agents), many were ordinary Americans who felt let down by their government. She criticized the lack of proper security and the FBI’s subsequent actions, which have left people in her district feeling targeted and afraid.
“A lot of good Americans from my district came here because they are sick and tired of this government not serving them. They came with strollers and the kids and there was chaotic situation because the proper security wasn’t provided,” said Spartz.
“These people came, they were throwing the smoke bombs into the crowd with strollers, with kids. FBI agents showed up to people’s houses. You had in my district, in my town, FBI phone numbers all over the district “Please call.” People are truly afraid. I just want to make sure if you’re not aware that you are, and this is a big problem when people are afraid of their own government,” she added.
Spartz also took aim at the Department of Justice’s handling of various investigations, including the Durham report, which she said made her feel like she was reading about the KGB.
“You are in charge of the department, and people right now feel that when I look at the Durham report and call out the violations of queries involving millions of Americans, it’s like KGB. When I read the Durham reports, you have a nice playbook. First, let’s appoint a special counsel so that you don’t have to answer any questions here. Then, let’s extend slow-walk the investigations on Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden. Everything is slow-walked. We were very quick to act on Donald Trump… By the time the investigation ended, the statute of limitations has expired, and all of your agents need to be tested for amnesia; no one recalls anything. You should probably include memory tests as part of your hiring policy,” said Spartz.
“So no one is held accountable, which is egregious. What happened, as detailed in that report, when I read with them I can’t believe it happened in the United States of America. This is my frustration, I’ll be honest with you. It’s very interesting, regardless of what it is.”
Spartz also raised concerns about the Obama administration’s handling of Ukraine, particularly the involvement of President Biden’s son, Hunter, with Ukrainian oligarchs. She argued that such actions undermine U.S. efforts in Ukraine and contribute to a lack of trust in the current administration.
“Even people in the Obama administration raised concerns. How can a President’s sons serve on the boards of corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs? Do you understand that this can actually undermine our Ukrainian efforts and policy?” she added.
“The Obama administration didn’t do anything about it. These people are dying right now and Americans don’t trust this president. So I want to ask you one thing. I don’t need answer because I know you’re not going to, but I think you’re probably good American and you care. And a lot of these people are so afraid they cover up this stuff, I think in your department, because they’re embarrassed. That is what we became as a country to say. That is what our Department of Justice became,” said Spartz.
Spartz concluded her remarks by warning of the danger posed to the American republic by the Department of Justice’s actions, which she said allow foreign adversaries like Russia and China to destabilize the country.
Before yielding her time, Spartz asked Garland if he believed that only U.S. citizens should be voting in elections and if he was doing anything to ensure that only eligible people vote. Garland responded affirmatively, but Spartz remained skeptical, stating, “I would like to see what you do.”
As someone who grew up in the Soviet Union, I’m disturbed by the fact that so many hardworking Americans—including my constituents—are afraid of political persecution by our own government.
Unfortunately, it does not seem like AG Garland is.
— Rep. Victoria Spartz (@RepSpartz) September 20, 2023