The House Judiciary Committee, pursuant to the US Constitution, Supreme Court precedent, and House rules, last week subpoenaed documents from the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) related to unjustified, reprehensible use of federal “counterterrorism” powers – against parents speaking at school board meetings against leftist policies. FBI Director Wray and Attorney General Garland – are refusing to comply. Where is the honor? And what is next?
The facts are admitted and frightening. The Biden White House pressured the National Association of School Boards (NASB) to draft a letter “asking” DOJ to use the “Patriot Act” – post-911 counterterrorism legislation – against parents speaking at school board meetings against endangering girls with transgender policies, pushing Marxism via Critical Race Theory (CRT), and interminable “mask mandates.” This was admitted in November 2021.
The NASB letter, repudiated by NASB after 26 state school boards objected, 20 quitting the organization, was sent to Biden’s AG Garland. Garland in turn, likely as orchestrated with the White House, created a “counterterrorism task force” to “investigate” and “prosecute” parents (largely conservative) who speak at school board meetings against leftist policies. The anti-parent task force has not been disbanded.
Emblematic of how the Biden-Garland-Wray, anti-parent counterterrorism task force works, a Virginia father was wrestled to the floor and arrested for speaking out against transgender policies, after his daughter was raped in the bathroom. So out of control is the Biden DOJ in going after parents for speaking up to defend their children, that the Texas AG has sued the Biden Administration for “silencing parents” and labeling them “domestic terrorists.”
Incredibly, even after the NASB admitted they were put up to the letter by the Biden White House, after they fully repudiated the letter and apologized for ever penning it, after parents’ groups nationwide, political leaders, and media outlets demanded the mischaracterization of vocal parents as “domestic terrorists” is utterly anti-American, Biden, Garland, and Wray continue to investigate parents, the task force still exists, and no White House, DOJ, or FBI apology to America for this overreach has occurred.
Against THIS backdrop – one of utter disregard by the Biden White House, DOJ, and FBI for established legal precedent, social norms, State, local, and parental prerogatives – the newly convened Republican-led US House Judiciary Committee has said “enough!” They have subpoenaed documents seeking the origin, intent, and breadth of anti-constitutional overreach.
Incredibly, the Biden White House, DOJ, and FBI have refused to comply, pretending all is well, power to decline a subpoena is within their authority, cooperation is occurring, no improper actions occurred, and the US House has no right to compel their production of documents.
As the former chief counsel and staff director, 1995 to 1999, for the US House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee investigating mis, mal, and non-feasance by the US Justice Department – this level of DOJ and FBI audacity is stunning.
At no time did the Clinton Administration Justice Department – even when we were investigating potential criminal behavior by FBI, ATF, INS, CBP, and other agencies – ever bluntly decline to comply with a legal, targeted, not-overly broad US House subpoena for documents. House Judiciary – and House Oversight – are completely with in their rights.
As if we needed another piece of evidence – indicating exactly HOW out of control, beyond constitutional norms and oversight, indifferent to basic accountability this Administration is, we now have it.
An Administration that boldly refuses to enforce laws aimed at protecting parents, Supreme Court Justices, and the border – which expressly targets parents and peaceful pro-life protestors exercising textual First Amendment rights in ways long respected in this country, now refuses to comply with lawful, specific, entirely justified, impeccably drafted congressional subpoenas.
The real question – the one that must be asked with diligence, consistency, and without hesitancy is this: Where has the rule of law gone? How can this administration credibly seek compliance with federal laws by any American citizen, when it flouts a basic tool of discovery, a subpoena?
At a moment when public trust is in peril, when classified documents found in a former vice president’s home and office (underwritten by China through a university) were accessible by his son, in the pay of China – why, how, and for what earthy reason would an Attorney General and FBI Director bluntly refuse compliance with a lawful subpoena? Selective, voluntary production is not compliance – no one knows that better than the AG and FBI Director.
The only answer is disrespect for average Americans, indifference to constitutional prerogatives, no reference or reverence for “separation of powers,” and a sense that – with control over the Justice Department – they are above the law.
What can be done about this? Not a lot, except continued public discussion, pressure by the transparency-focused House Republicans on getting compliance through the courts, and an appeal to those Democrats who still respect oversight and separation of powers on harmonizing for compliance. In the end, America runs on honor – with it, we shine; without it, we are nothing.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.