Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., scorned the Justice Department (DOJ) for “treating Christians like criminals” and accused U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland of lying when the DOJ denied actively spying on Catholic churches.
Speaking on “Hannity” about a March hearing in which Hawley confronted Garland with allegations of potential spying on Catholic parishes, which the attorney general denied, the senator said Garland “misled Congress” and Joe Biden’s “administration is treating Christians like criminals.”
“Listen, he knew at the time that he couldn’t answer the question because it looks so bad,” Hawley said about the prior hearing. “He knew that it looked beyond the pale, and it is beyond the pale, Sean, for the FBI to be going into any church in America and trying to spy on Americans, and now we know that’s exactly what they were doing. They are infiltrating churches. They are trying to spy on us.”
Hawley’s remarks come as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, issued a subpoena directing FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify and turn over information about how the agency has infiltrated Catholic churches “to monitor and report on their parishioners,” according to a letter sent to Wray on Monday.
The oversight of the FBI by the Judiciary Committee originates from a leaked January document from the Richmond Field Office that compared Catholic Americans to “domestic terrorists,” according to the letter. The committee asked the FBI for assistance in gathering additional information about the agency’s actions regarding Catholic churches.
While the FBI offered minimal information, the committee discovered that the agency, “relying on information derived from at least one undercover employee, sought to use local religious organizations as ‘new avenues for tripwire and source development,'” the letter reveals.
The FBI then retracted the leaked paper, claiming that it “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI,” the agency told the Daily Caller in February.
Nonetheless, Hawley is demanding the agency be held accountable, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity, “There’s got to be accountability for this, Sean. He’s got to be called on the carpet. The House needs to call him. The Senate should call him, too. But the Democrats will never do it.”
He continued, “Now we know. The FBI did in fact try to infiltrate churches. The Attorney General misled Congress. And this administration is treating Christians like criminals.”