Sen. Josh Hawley is asking the questions that should be on every American’s mind heading into the November midterm elections.
In a letter on Monday, the Missouri Republican demanded Attorney General Merrick Garland explain why heavily armed FBI agents raided the home of a pro-life activist in Pennsylvania last week over a petty criminal charge, while a spasm of terrorist violence against churches and birthing centers goes ignored by the Biden administration’s Justice Department.
And the answer is crucial for how conservative Americans can even trust their own government.
The story started on Friday, when a troop of FBI agents showed up at the Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, home of Mark Houck, a father of seven and regular demonstrator outside abortion clinics in Philadelphia.
Kintnersville is an unincorporated area of Bucks County, northeast of the city.
According to an account of the raid Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie, gave LifeSite News, the federal agents pounded on the Houcks’ door about 7 a.m. to arrest Houck on a charge of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in connection with two alleged assaults that took place nearly a year earlier during confrontations between Houck and a pro-abortion protester.
The agents had “big, huge rifles pointed at Mark and pointed at me and kind of pointed throughout the house,” Ryan-Marie Houck told LifeSite.
“The kids were all just screaming,” she said. “It was all just very scary and traumatic.”
LifeSite described the agents as being part of a “SWAT team.”
In a statement reported by Fox News, a representative of the FBI played word games, declaring that there was no “SWAT Team or SWAT operators” involved in the raid” — as though the technical definition of “SWAT” was what mattered here.
According to Fox, a “senior FBI source” said 15 to 20 agents had participated in the raid with guns out but “guns were never pointed at Houck or his family and were lowered or holstered as soon as Houck was taken into custody.”
So, there was no “SWAT team,” just a group of heavily armed FBI agents pounding on the door. The Houcks clearly had no reason to panic.
According to the Bucks County Courier Times, the bureau called it all part of “standard practices” in a statement Monday.
“While it’s the FBI’s standard practice not to discuss such operational specifics, we can say that the number of personnel and vehicles widely reported as being on scene Friday is an overstatement, and the tactics used by FBI personnel were professional, in line with standard practices, and intended to ensure the safety of everyone present in and outside the residence.”
It’s standard practice to send 15 to 20 agents, or 10 agents, or even five agents, to go to the home of a man charged with assault to make an arrest at 7 a.m. in front of his screaming children?
And this is after the subject of the arrest had offered to surrender on his own, according to a National Review report.
Hawley, a former state attorney general, isn’t buying it either.
In a letter to Garland, the senator slammed not only the tactics behind Friday’s arrest but also the obvious double standard the Garland Justice Department employs when it comes to the politics of its targets.
“I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics – while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished,” Hawley wrote in a Twitter post that contained his letter to Garland.
I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics – while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished pic.twitter.com/tU1Jwe4c7h
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2022
“Not only did your office turn a local dispute into a national case, but the FBI executed the search warrant in as extreme a manner as one can imagine,” Hawley wrote.
“The reports are exceptionally shocking given that your office has so far turned a blind eye to the epidemic of violence across the country by pro-abortion extremists, against pregnancy-resource centers, houses of worship and pro-life Americans – violent acts that are prohibited under the very same law under which you are charging Mark Houck,” he said.
(The FACE Act not only makes it a federal crime to interfere with individuals seeking abortion services, but it also makes it a federal crime to damage places of worship.)
Hawley’s letter concluded with three questions:
“1. Why were 20-25 armed FBI agents sent to Mark Houck’s home to execute and arrest for simple assault?
“2. Why did those agents have their guns drawn?
“3. Since May 3, 2022, how many charges has your department brought against pro-abortion extremists who have attacked pregnancy resource centers, churches and pro-life Americans?”
(The May 3 date is the day after the Supreme Court leak that indicated a conservative majority was about to overturn Roe v. Wade.)
Don’t expect Garland to answer any of these questions with anything like the honesty the country deserves.
The abomination of an attorney general — a man who, but for the grace of God and the spine of Sen. Mitch McConnell, would be seated on the Supreme Court now — is a clear and present danger to the liberty of all Americans, and has a record to prove it.
His approval of the Aug. 8 raid on the home of former President Donald Trump and his willingness to use the powers of the federal government to try to bully states over election laws that the Constitution gives the individual states the power to pass prove that politics, not law, guides his decision-making.
His readiness to target American parents trying to exercise their rightful control over their children’s education and his overall eagerness to prostitute the Justice Department to the agenda of the Biden administration show him to be manifestly unfit for the office he holds.
But Garland is no less fit than the Biden administration itself — with the doddering, almost certainly corrupt President Joe Biden in the Oval Office — or the Democratic majorities in the Senate and House under the viciously partisan Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
When conservative Americans go to the polls in November, the No. 1 goal has to be stopping the continuing Democratic depredations against decency in this country’s government, and that very much includes the double standard of justice imposed by the Merrick Garland Justice Department.
As Hawley put it in a follow-up tweet, “Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ & the FBI – from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents. What Biden is doing is wrong. And dangerous.”
The corruption & abuse of law is out of control. Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ & the FBI – from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents. What Biden is doing is wrong. And dangerous
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2022
For that public investigation to happen, there has to be a Republican majority in at least one of the houses of Congress — but preferably both.
Garland is guaranteed not to give honest answers to the questions in that Monday letter. It will take Republicans in congressional power, with committee chairmanships and subpoena powers, to force the issue.
With the midterms just over six weeks away, American voters need to give Garland, his president and the political party that president represents an answer they’ll understand.