July 20, 2021
Grassley on an Unresponsive Justice Department
Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On an Unresponsive Justice
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
I want to speak to an issue that I’ve raised during the course of multiple Republican
and Democratic administrations.
issue is responding to legitimate and valid congressional oversight requests.
time as a public servant, I’ve seen my fair share of unresponsive government –
sometimes downright obstructive government.
seen it rear its ugly head from decade to decade.
nothing more eroding of public faith than an unresponsive executive branch that
believes it only answers to the president and not the United States Congress
and, perhaps most importantly, We the People.
on my interactions with the Biden administration’s Justice Department and its
component agencies, specifically the FBI, the current officials in charge of
those agencies are, at best, unresponsive public servants.
goes all the way to the top, to President Biden. Because the buck stops there.
say to many nominees, either you run the Department or the Department runs you.
now, it looks like the Justice Department is running Attorney General Garland.
that’s a shame.
to confirm the Attorney General. I had high hopes he would follow through on
his public statements of ridding the Department of political infection.
I fear he’s taking the Justice Department to new politically-charged heights.
date, I haven’t received a full and complete response to a single oversight
request from the Biden Justice Department.
example, on February 3 of this year and March 9 of this year, Senator Johnson
and I asked the Department about Nicholas McQuaid.
McQuaid is the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, of
which Mr. Polite will be taking his place upon confirmation.
was employed by a law firm until January 20, 2021, and worked with Christopher
Clark, who Hunter Biden reportedly hired to work on his federal criminal case.
arrangement poses a clear potential conflict.
function of congressional oversight is to ensure that governmental departments
and agencies are free of conflicts of interest.
especially so with the Justice Department and FBI. If conflicts infect them,
those investigations and prosecutions – the very purpose of the Department’s
existence – could be undermined.
I’ve requested a recusal memo for McQuaid. I’ve also requested to know, as a
threshold issue, whether one even exists.
General Garland won’t answer.
believe that? Here, we’ve got a federal criminal case that implicates the
President’s son and the Attorney General won’t even answer Congress as to
whether or not an employee of his Department – who has an apparent conflict –
is recused from the matter.
certainly looks like the Garland Justice Department is doing all that it can to
protect the president’s son.
remind the Attorney General that I was the one that led a transcribed interview
with President Trump’s son.
the grief Trump and his family got from Democrats, at least they showed up and
answered the questions.
on in the Attorney General’s tenure, I instructed my oversight staff to work
diligently and in good faith with their counterparts at the
have done the phone calls. They’ve had the meetings. They’ve sent the emails. Many
of which go unanswered. They’ve done it in good faith.
level, I’ve made every effort to get the Attorney General on the phone to
discuss my oversight requests.
him two months to get on the phone with me for a one on one call.
out just the other week that Attorney General Garland’s staff never told him of
my request to speak with him.
omission is a dereliction of duty by Department staff to keep something like
that from the Attorney General.
said, either you run the Department or the Department runs you.
type of unresponsive conduct has consequences. Those consequences might not be
eventually, as I’ve seen over the years, ultimately the consequences arrive.
more their government tries to hide from them, the more the American people
lose faith in governmental institutions.
such bad government conduct, I don’t blame the people for losing that faith.
fault is with government, not the American people.
all, we work for them. They don’t work for us. It’s sad to say, but many in
Washington, D.C., don’t understand that fundamental precept of our
fellow Senators, this type of conduct from the Biden administration and Justice
Department is unacceptable.
will have long-term consequences for the integrity of our governmental
light of the Department’s consistent failure to respond to my oversight
requests, I will object to ant unanimous consent request that Kenneth Polite be
confirmed as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.
I do so
not on the basis of his credentials. I do so as a message to the Attorney
General that he needs to improve.