Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Probably didn’t get the answer he was looking for when he asked Judge Merrick Garland about President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Justice about his position on the defounding of the police.
The Missouri Republican, who led the effort to overthrow the 2020 presidential election in Congress and raised his fist on a group of Trump supporters outside the Capitol on January 6, described rising crime in cities across the country and asked Garland if he supports deferring funding. police.
“As you may know, President Biden has said he does not support cutting police funding, and neither do I,” Garland said in his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Monday.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals judge then cited the horror experienced by Capitol Hill cops during the attack as a reason he did not support disassociating the police service. More than 140 police officers were injured in the attack on Congress on January 6 and several died in the riot, fueled by lies about voter fraud.
“We saw how difficult the life of the police officers was in the bodycam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol,” Garland said.
Since the riot, Hawley and other Republicans have made a point of bemoaning violence against police during the Black Lives Matter protests last year (although the vast majority of protests were peaceful). During his impeachment trial, the defense team for former President Donald Trump often drew a false equivalence between the attack on Capitol Hill, which sought to overthrow American democracy, and past attacks on police in response to their killings of unarmed civilians.
Hawley also asked if Garalnd considered “assaults on federal property in places other than Washington, DC” to be domestic terrorism, a label he said. recently suggested might not be appropriate for the attack on Capitol Hill, which he claimed Democrats are using to justify a takeover.
“The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes,” Garland said. “So an attack on a courthouse while it was in operation to try to prevent judges from deciding cases is clearly internal extremism, internal terrorism.”
Trump supporters who ransacked Capitol Hill also sought to disrupt the democratic process, namely certifying Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, which Hawley said was still flawed.
Garland is expected to be confirmed as the country’s next attorney general with broad bipartisan support. Even Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) praised the judge, calling him “a very good choice” for the job.
The reception Garland received on Monday couldn’t have been more different than in 2016, after President Barack Obama appointed him a Supreme Court justice. Republicans outright denied him a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, citing the presidential election later that year. Of course, they dropped the objection to election year confirmations at the Supreme Court at the end of 2020 following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“It was an election year with a divided Congress,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), then chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in his opening speech on Monday.
“Yes, it is true that I did not give a hearing to Justice Garland,” he added, before going to refer to the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh two years later. “I did not distort his balance sheet either. I did not attack his character. I haven’t looked through her high school directory.
Garland, of course, was nominated two years before Kavanaugh. He has also not been charged with sexual assault.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost