During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, things got heated as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland on a number of issues.
On Wednesday, Garland took part in a hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss an Oct. 4 memo the Biden administration's Department of Justice issued detailing "a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation's public schools."
"While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution," the Justice Department memo continues, "that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views."
Before the hearing, Cruz laid out five questions he said Garland must answer during his Senate testimony. Of paramount importance to Cruz and many other Republicans was getting to the bottom of why the DOJ "cater[ed] to the wishes of partisan activists who want to teach critical race theory in schools and who think parents are domestic terrorists." Other questions involved the Loudoun County School Board and possible ethics violations surrounding Garland's son-in-law, as well as whether the DOJ would be investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Though the memo does not explicitly mention Critical Race Theory, many of the parents who have expressed their concerns at school board meetings have done so over the inclusion of CRT in their children's curriculums. It was recently revealed that Garland's son-in-law co-founded an education company that supports the teaching of CRT; thus, many have cited a potential conflict of interest.
Cruz grilled Garland on the issue, asking repeatedly whether the AG had sought an ethics opinion. After receiving a long-winded answer, Cruz repeated the question. The two went back and forth in a similar pattern until the time limit was reached, with Garland unable to answer the simple "yes" or "no" question.
Garland was similarly vague when asked by Cruz whether the DOJ would investigate Fauci for allegedly lying to Congress under oath.
After a discussion of the memo, Sen. John Cornyn asked Garland why the DOJ thought the issue was of federal concern as opposed to being dealt with at a state or local law efnorcement level, as well as why he had not yet rescinded the memo after the National School Boards Association apologized for its own letter sent to the Biden administration days before the memo's release.
Cornyn continued: "Did you consider the chilling effect your memorandum might have on parents exercising their constitutional rights?"
Garland responded by suggesting that the memo did not suggest the federal agency would be "chilling anyone's rights," adding that it does make note of parents' "constitutional right to make arguments about [their] children's education."
Sen. Josh Hawley got straight to the point, declaring that Garland had "weaponized the FBI and the Department of Justice" against innocent parents. He then called on Garland to resign, similar to Sen. Tom Cotton's demand.