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It was a wild day on Capitol Hill, to say the least, considering the fireworks that were at times on display during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the oversight of the Dept. of Justice.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland was of course the star of the show, getting grilled by Committee Chair Jim Jordan, Thomas Massie, Matt Gaetz, and other Republicans on numerous issues including January 6th and the FBI informants, U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ investigation into Hunter Biden, and the DOJ dropping a Trump-era initiative that was “focused on countering Chinese espionage.”
But at one point during the hearing, Garland faced questions from Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, who used some of his time to butter up Garland and try to get him to comment on supposed “ethics concerns” Democrats have about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Instead of giving Johnson what he wanted to hear, a seemingly agitated Garland simply told him he would “speak to the office of legislative affairs” regarding Johnson’s and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s April request to the Judicial Conference to refer Thomas to the DOJ for investigation:
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., has asked the Justice Department to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for potential ethical violations. Johnson asked Garland, a former judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, whether a billionaire ever flew him on a private jet, paid for vacations at exclusive resorts or paid for his godson’s tuition.
Garland nervously said he didn’t want to answer questions that sounded both hypothetical and nonhypothetical. It’s also a question that is somewhat personal for him: Garland had been nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice by former President Barack Obama, but Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, blocked a vote on his election-year confirmation.
“I know these are not hypothetical questions and I think this is really not within my realm,” Garland said. “I always held myself to the highest standards of ethical responsibility.”
Garland said he would check with the department about where Johnson’s request for an investigation of Thomas stood.
Watch the number of times Johnson made veiled references to Thomas’ alleged unethical behavior below in using hypotheticals, and how Garland refused to take the bait each time:
Congressman Hank Johnson (D) gets flustered by Merrick Garland when Johnson tries to use Merrick Garland to smear Justice Thomas. Watch Garland shut him down.
— TheRealBiffBifford 🇺🇸 (@TBifford) September 20, 2023
In response, one Twitter user quipped that they were “surprised Hank Johnson is at the hearing today for Merrick Garland. I thought he’d be at the island of Guam, checking to see if it’s still afloat,” a reference to Johnson’s infamous remarks during a 2010 House Armed Services Committee hearing where he expressed concern that Guam would “tip over and capsize” from having so many military personnel on it.
For those who missed that moment or would like a refresher on it for context, watch:
Tucker’s spot on. These people are dumb as hell. Remember when Hank Johnson said he was worried Guam would “tip over and capsize” due to overpopulation? pic.twitter.com/FVr3NIt71I
— LivePDDave 🇺🇸 (@LivePDDave1) August 30, 2023
Nobody ever said you had to be the sharpest tool in the shed to become a member of Congress, and we have Hank Johnson to thank for continuously proving the point.
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