GOP Senators to Garland: ‘You Have Given Life to the Idea that Dissidents Are Synonymous with Terrorists’

Merrick Garland
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A letter signed by the 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded Attorney General Merrick Garland withdraw his October 4 memo ordering the FBI to investigate parents who speak at school board meetings.

“Are concerned parents domestic terrorists or not?” the letter begins. Referencing their October 7 letter to Garland, the senators write, “…it is not the job of the federal government to silence those who question local school boards.”

As Breitbart News reported, an FBI whistleblower revealed in November the involvement of the counterterrorism division to look into parents concerned about their children’s education.

“No arm of the government, including the offices under your command, may be used to chill criticism of local government officials,” the December 6 letter continues. “By involving the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in this matter, that is exactly what you have done.”

Describing school officials as persons who “just happen to be a major constituency of the political party that currently controls the White House and the Department of Justice,” the senators write that the use of counterterrorism tools against parents is the federal government’s attempt to flex its “muscle in [the] marketplace of ideas.”

The Judiciary Republicans point out that there are many who would benefit politically from federal censors. “Make no mistake about it — there are those who would be perfectly happy with the federal government, now including the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, scaring people out of criticizing local school boards,” they wrote. “A big part of this problem, which you either do not understand or are complicit in, is that too many people nowadays equate ideas they do not like with violence.”

“You have given life to the idea that dissidents are synonymous with terrorists,” the senators concluded. “This is a common tactic of third-world dictatorships, but it should never be FBI practice.”

As Breitbart News reported, Republicans in the House are also trying to get answers from Garland and others involved with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter that first referred to parents as “domestic terrorists,” and — according to Garland — motivated his memo directing the FBI to investigate them.

But House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan told Breitbart News that the federal government worked directly with the NSBA to craft the letter in order to fabricate the premise for investigation.

“I don’t think the school board letter was the catalyst,” he told Breitbart News. “I think the Biden administration and the Garland Justice Department set out — their goal was to go after parents and chill any speech that was critical of what they wanted to do. And they were just looking for a pretext, a catalyst, an excuse to do what they wanted to do. And they go, ‘Oh, let’s work with the school board association to get them to send us the letter, then we’ll go do what we want to do.’”

Jordan went on to explain that fabricating a premise to initiate an investigation is a consistent pattern that has been used before to spy on people.

“But I think you got to view the letter from the School Board Association, in the same context as the dossier and the Trump-Russia investigation,” Jordan told Breitbart News. “Jim Comey wanted, and the Obama FBI and Justice Department, wanted to go after President Trump, they wanted to spy on President Trump. But they needed an excuse, and the excuse became, ‘Oh, there’s a dossier.’ Jim Comey sees this, knows it’s garbage, but he goes and flies up to Trump Tower in January, early January of 2017, before President Trump’s even been sworn in, and gives him a briefing on the dossier because they want to use that.

“So they needed a catalyst to do what they wanted to do,” Jordan concluded. “It’s a template that we see being used, and it’s exactly the template that was used here.”

The letter was signed by ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.

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