Ranking Member Nadler Statement for Department of Justice Oversight Hearing with Attorney General Garland
Washington, September 20, 2023
Tags: Government Oversight
Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during a Department of Justice oversight hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland:
"Mr. Chairman, one of this Committee’s most important duties is conducting oversight of the Department of Justice. We are called to ensure that the DOJ uses the enormous amount of power it is granted in a fair, just manner that respects the civil and human rights of all Americans.
"The Attorney General of the United States oversees issues that affect the lives of each and every American. Violent crime, drug trafficking, attacks on our civil rights, threats to our national security, and environmental crimes all fall under his purview.
"This is why we regularly request that he or she appear before this Committee to speak about the work the Department is doing for the welfare of this country. This is how we ensure that the Department stays accountable to the American people.
"But if it were up to the Republicans, Americans would hear nothing about any of these substantive issues today. They would hear nothing about the rise in domestic terrorism and what the Justice Department is doing about it. They would hear nothing about what the Department is doing to stop hate crimes and prevent gun violence. They would hear nothing about how the Department is disrupting efforts by Russia, China, and others to interfere in our elections.
"Extreme MAGA Republicans have poisoned our vital oversight work. They have ignored our legitimate oversight responsibilities and used their power to stage one political stunt after another.
"They have wasted countless taxpayer dollars on baseless investigations into President Biden and his family, desperate to find evidence for impeachment and desperate to distract from the mounting legal peril facing Donald Trump.
"They have fought tirelessly to stop efforts to fight malign foreign actors trying to influence and manipulate Americans through social media.
"They have unconstitutionally interfered in criminal litigation and attempted to bully state and local law enforcement officers.
"They have publicized the names of witnesses who did not further their political goals, leading to threats of death and physical violence against those witnesses and their families.
"They have cost any number of private institutions and companies millions of dollars in legal fees as they struggle to respond to ridiculous and overbroad requests for information and transcribed interviews.
"They have issued subpoenas for show, without making meaningful attempts to get the information they seek by consent.
"They have levied low, baseless, personal attacks on any prosecutor to bring charges against Donald Trump or January 6th rioters.
"They have attempted to discredit investigators who were not hard enough on Donald Trump’s political opponents.
"They have supported those involved in the deadly attack on our Capitol on January 6th in an attempt to overthrow a lawful election.
"They have justified conduct that we all know to be wildly illegal, like the theft of classified materials and incitement to violence.
"And, through it all, rather than try to unite the country or solve the problems that affect us all, they have sought to exploit our divisions for cynical, personal, political gain.
"That is their goal: division.
"They want to divide this country and make our government appear like it’s broken, because that is when their broken political party thrives.
"So, today, I implore the public to see through the sham.
"I have no doubt that you will hear a deluge of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations.
"They will quote freely from so-called whistleblowers who have been broadly discredited or contradicted.
"They will viciously attack federal law enforcement.
"They will tell you that all 91 criminal charges against Donald Trump are part of a conspiracy, despite overwhelming evidence of each of Donald Trump’s crimes.
"And they will attack Special Counsel Weiss—who was appointed by Donald Trump—for not being hard enough on Hunter Biden.
"Republicans will continue doing what they’ve done for years: discrediting anyone who does not serve their political goals, at any cost.
"And the shame of it is that, in this hearing room—like on the House floor, where we are barreling towards a government shutdown while my Republican colleagues call each other names—we could be working together to put people over politics and to solve any number of problems affecting the American people.
"More than 30,000 Americans have died from guns this year alone.
"Guns have become the leading cause of death for children aged 1-17, surpassing car accidents.
"Domestic violent extremism and white nationalism are on the rise.
"We are seeing “active clubs” and other white supremacist groups pop up around the country.
"Antisemitism is at an all time high.
"Malign foreign actors like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are attempting to influence our elections.
"Political rhetoric is causing threats against law enforcement officials to skyrocket.
"Our immigration court system is in desperate need of reform.
"Our election workers receive death threats from conspiracy theory-driven extremists.
"Fentanyl is filling our streets and poisoning our children at historic rates.
"This list goes on and on, and we, the people in this room, are in a position to do something about it. In fact, it is our duty to do something about it, consistent with the oath we took when we were sworn in as Members of Congress.
"We could work with the Department of Justice and Attorney General Garland to address any number of real, substantive problems facing the American people.
"Instead, House Republicans will use their time today to talk about long-discredited conspiracy theories and Hunter Biden’s laptop. And they will do it because they care more about Donald Trump than they do about their own constituents.
"I hope my colleagues will see reason and at least attempt to work with the Attorney General in good faith. Sadly, on the other side of the aisle, reason and good faith seem to be in short supply.
"In any event, Mr. Attorney General, thank you for your testimony, and thank you in advance for your patience. I yield back."