Merrick Garland testifying before Congress amid fierce criticism over controversial memo


Attorney General Merrick Garland is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday amid intense criticism over a memo he released this month, which announced the Federal Bureau of Investigations would get involved in cases of parents who protest against school boards.

Garland is appearing before the Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, where he is expected to defend the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Jan. 6 riot. 

In his opening statement, obtained by Axios ahead of the hearing, Garland will tell the committee that federal prosecutors are “doing exactly what they are expected to do,” adding that he has “great confidence” in those investigating the riot.

Garland’s testimony comes as he is facing backlash and lawsuits from parents across the country over the widely criticized memo in which he announced the federal investigation of “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” 

The memo did not detail what the “threats of violence” were, however many parents and Republican politicians have accused Garland of targeting parents for speaking out against the implementation of mask mandates and critical race theory in K-12 schools. 

Merrick Garland's memo about the FBI investigating parents for domestic terrorism incited protests in school board meetings all over the US.
Merrick Garland’s memo about the FBI investigating parents for domestic terrorism incited protests in school board meetings all over the US.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
Patti Hidalgo Menders speaks out against board actions during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia.
Patti Hidalgo Menders speaks out against board actions during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia.
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
A woman holds up her sign against critical race theory being taught during a public Loudoun County Public Schools.
A woman holds up her sign against critical race theory being taught during a public Loudoun County Public Schools.
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

In recent months, many parents have spoken out against both at school board meetings, with some interactions turning raucous. 

Shortly before Garland issued the memo, the National School Boards Association asked  the federal government to get involved, comparing the threats of violence to “domestic terrorism.”

On Tuesday, a group of parents of Michigan sued Garland over the memo, to protect the “fundamental rights to freedom of speech, to direct the education of their children, and to be free from unlawful discrimination based upon their political and religious beliefs and views.”

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