OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that he didn’t know if there were any FBI assets in the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, prompting a Republican lawmaker to retort angrily, “You may have just perjured yourself.”
During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, led by chair Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Garland took questions about an array of topics. But Jordan and Republicans focused heavily on the DOJ’s handling of its investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden on felony gun charges. That investigation is being led by special counsel David Weiss.
Garland’s appointment of special counsel Jack Smith, who has indicted former President Donald Trump twice on federal charges, is also being questioned by Republicans.
But things got tense almost immediately when Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie questioned Garland about whether FBI agents were “agitating in the crowd to go into the Capitol.” Garland stated that he was unaware of any federal government agents or assets doing so.
“If there were any, I don’t know how many — I don’t know whether there are any,” Garland said during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. “I don’t have any personal knowledge of this matter.”
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
MASSIE: “You’re citing the Constitution. I’m going to cite it. It’s our constitutional duty to do oversight. Now in that video, that was your answer to a question to me two years ago, when I said, ‘How many agents or assets of the government were present on January 5 and January 6, and agitating in the crowd to go into the Capitol and how many went into the Capitol?’ Can you answer that now?”
Garland: “I don’t know the answer to that question.”
MASSIE: “Oh, last time, you don’t know how many there were or there were none?”
Garland: “I don’t know the answer to either of those questions. If there were any, I don’t know how many, and I don’t know whether there are any.”
MASSIE: “I think you may have just perjured yourself that you don’t know that there were any. You want to say that again, that you don’t know that there were any?” [crosstalk]
Garland: “I have no personal knowledge of this matter. I think what I said the last time —“ [crosstalk]
MASSIE: “You’ve had two years to find out, and the day — by the way that was in reference to Ray Epps, and yesterday you indicted him. Isn’t that a wonderful coincidence? On a misdemeanor. Meanwhile, you’re sending grandmas to prison. You’re putting people away for 20 years for merely filming, some people weren’t even there. Yet, you got the guy on video. He’s saying go into the Capitol. He’s directing people to the Capitol before the speech ends. He’s at the side of the first breach. You’ve got all the goods on him. 10 videos, and it’s an — it’s an indictment for a misdemeanor. The American public isn’t buying it. I yield the balance of my time to Chairman Jordan.”
Garland: “May I answer the question?”
Jordan: “I’m going to ask you one now. Let’s — we’ll let the gentleman —“
Garland: “Um —“
Jordan: “Go ahead, but —“
Garland: “In discovery, and the cases were filed with respect to January 6, the Justice Department prosecutors provided whatever information they had about the question that you’re asking. With respect to Mr. Epps, the FBI has said that he was not an employee or informant of — of the FBI. Mr. Epps has been charged. And there’s a proceeding I believe going on today on that subject.”
MASSIE: “The charge is a joke. I yield the chairman.”
Jordan: “The time of the gentleman has expired. The Chair recognizes the — the gentleman from California.”
Massie goes NUCLEAR on Garland over Ray Epps:
“Yesterday you indicted him…. on a misdemeanor. Meanwhile you’re sending grandmas to prison for 20 years. You have Epps on video saying ‘Go into the Capitol.’ He’s at the site of the first breach… and it’s an indictment for a… pic.twitter.com/1s9qzlI9ZH
— Martin Walsh (@MWalshUS) September 20, 2023