Should Republicans take control of the U.S. House and Senate in November, their first order of business — before tax and spending cuts, abortion restrictions, gun legislation, or anything else in their predictably anodyne agenda — should be to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Under Garland, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been thoroughly politicized and weaponized, transformed into instruments of terror aimed at ordinary American citizens who have the temerity to oppose the Biden administration’s radical agenda.
Tax cuts for domestic manufacturers, or whatever out-of-touch, boilerplate thing GOP leaders imagine their priority should be once they regain Congress, can wait. The urgent thing now is to impeach and remove Garland before he causes irreparable harm to the republic.
Everything Garland has done as attorney general has been mendaciously political, from smearing parents who speak out at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists” to targeting peaceful anti-abortion activists while doing nothing about actual pro-abortion vigilantes attacking churches and crisis pregnancy centers. He has to be stopped, and a determined GOP-led Congress is the only thing that can stop him.
And by the way, once they’ve gotten rid of Garland, congressional Republicans should make their very next order of business dismantling the FBI and DOJ. Both of these agencies have proven themselves to be corrupted beyond repair. They are enemies of the American people and must be scrapped entirely and replaced by something new — something with far less power and far more accountability.
If that sounds drastic or melodramatic, as it might to some indifferent or merely idiotic Republican lawmakers, consider the shocking news this week that Garland’s DOJ has once again used the FBI to target peaceful anti-abortion activists for exercising their First Amendment rights. On Tuesday night, armed FBI agents swarmed into the home of 73-year-old anti-abortion activist Chet Gallagher on the outrageous pretext that he had violated an obscure federal statute, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or “FACE Act.”
In fact, what Gallagher and 10 other activists had done was pray and sing in the hallway of a medical building that houses an abortion facility in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, last March. The protest was entirely peaceful, as ample video footage — livestreamed on Facebook by the activists themselves — attests. A few of them were arrested without incident by local police on misdemeanor trespass charges and promptly released.
But in Garland’s DOJ, what they did was use “force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services.” So reads the indictment, a document so disconnected from reality that its mere existence beggars belief.
And yet it comes on the heels of an equally shocking FBI raid last month on the home of Mark Houck, a Catholic father of seven and anti-abortion activist who was arrested at gunpoint in front of his terrified wife and small children. His crime? He alleged violated — you guessed it — the FACE Act.
But in Houck’s case, the charges are even more spurious than those leveled against the Tennessee activists. The incident in question involved an altercation last October between Houck and a man named Bruce Love, a pro-abortion activist and escort — not an abortion provider or a woman seeking an abortion — near an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Love allegedly got in the face of Houck’s 12-year-old son and was relentlessly harassing him. An altercation ensued, and Houck reportedly shoved Love, who fell to the ground.
But as my colleague Margot Cleveland recently noted in these pages, by Love’s own account the altercation didn’t amount to a violation of the FACE Act “because Houck was standing at a corner away from the abortion facility, no clients were involved, and the alleged assault had nothing to do with so-called reproductive services.” That is to say, the government’s case here is extremely weak and will likely be dismissed before a trial ever takes place, as a fair number of other alleged violations of the FACE Act have been in the past.
What’s more, Cleveland detailed how Houck’s attorney was in touch with the Justice Department about the matter months before the FBI raided Houck’s home, and offered to have Houck appear voluntarily in response to a summons. That email was sent in June, but the first response Houck’s attorney got from the DOJ was on Sept. 23, after Houck had already been arrested at his home at gunpoint in front of his family.
These cases, though, are just the latest in a long train of egregiously selective enforcement of federal law by the Garland DOJ that’s clearly intended to intimidate otherwise law-abiding American citizens. The same U.S. attorney pursuing the bogus case against Houck, Anita Eve, has also handled some 40 Jan. 6 cases, in which similarly over-the-top arrest tactics were used. Indeed, Garland’s DOJ has thrown the book at hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants whose misdeeds in many cases amount to little more than unintentional trespassing.
Meanwhile, the FBI won’t say whether it has made even a single arrest in the dozens of attacks against churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and other pro-life organizations in the wake of the Dobbs leak in May. The FBI admitted to The Daily Signal this week (in a statement that is almost identical to one it issued the outlet in June) that it is investigating the attacks, and even that it considers some of them potential acts of domestic violent extremism or possible violations of the FACE Act.
Yet for all that, the FBI has failed to announce a single arrest in connection with some 83 attacks on Catholic Churches and 73 crisis pregnancy centers. Strange then that it would have time to track down Houck and the 73-year-old Gallagher (not to mention 87-year-old Eva Edl, a woman named in the Tennessee indictment).
All of this amounts to precisely what it looks like: the weaponization of the Justice Department for partisan political ends. If a new Republican majority in Congress does nothing else next year, it should impeach Garland and dismantle a hopelessly corrupted DOJ and FBI. Whether GOP leaders realize it, the future of the republic might just depend on them gutting up in the next Congress and doing what needs to be done.