On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley on Tuesday accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of having given false testimony to the Senate last month, after he claimed that his department was not looking for sources within the Catholic church and other houses of worship. He proceeded to demand that all agents aiding the department in religious sites be uncovered.
In a letter sent to Garland, Hawley, R-Mo., wrote that Garland’s department had turned “Catholic congregations into front organizations for the FBI,” and that during his hearing he chose to hide the truth from Congress. He further added that this situation is “an unconscionable assault on American Catholics’ First Amendment rights and an abdication of your duty to enforce the law without fear or favor.”
Hawley’s letter came after the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government claimed that the FBI had “at least one undercover agent” that they used to spy on Catholic groups in Richmond, Virginia.
This is an issue that the senator had brought up during Garland’s hearing last month when he had asked him whether the department had an “anti-Catholic bias.” In response, Garland claimed that his department protected all religions and ideologies without any bias.
Hawley proceeded to write down a specific part of the back-and-forth that he had with Garland a month earlier writing that he had asked whether his Department was “ ‘cultivating sources and spies in Latin mass parishes and other Catholic parishes around the country.’” To which Garland had at the time responded “‘No, the Justice Department does not do that. It does not do investigations based on religion.’”
Hawley had then proceeded to ask how many informants Garland had within Catholic churches across the country, to which Garland had responded by saying that to his knowledge they did not have any.