Sen. Josh Hawley demands AG Merrick Garland’s resignation over school board memo

Amid widespread outrage over Attorney General Merrick Garland’s mobilization of the FBI to probe reports of supposedly threatening conduct toward school board members from concerned parents, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley (MO) has demanded the resignation of the Biden’ administration’s top lawyer for engaging in a “dangerous abuse of authority,” according to Fox News.

It was earlier this month that Garland issued a memo directing the FBI to take actions designed to address so-called threats against local school officials, including the development of a centralized process for such concerns to be reported to the federal government, actions that were supposedly made at the behest of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in a letter sent to the Biden administration.

However, on Friday, that same organization’s board distanced itself from the communitation in which those requests were made, telling its membership “we regret and apologize for the letter,” according to the New York Post.

“We deeply value not only the work of local school boards that make important contributions within our communities, but also the voices of parents, who should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health, and safety,” the statement continued.

The Post further noted that advocacy group Parents Defending Education had obtained email messages revealing that the organization’s membership had never been consulted about the content of the original letter sent to the Biden administration, which included the incendiary claim that parents standing in opposition to mask mandates and the teachings of critical race theory are guilty of taking part in a “form of domestic terrorism.”

Adding fuel to the fire of national controversy was the letter’s additional suggestion that the Justice Department should “examine appropriate enforceable actions” including the use of Patriot Act provisions to rein in what they viewed as problematic parental involvement in local school board proceedings.

Hawley, for his part, believes that the attorney general needs to step down over his memo pledging action on the part of federal law enforcement, saying, “Merrick Garland mobilized the FBI to intimidate parents without legal basis, and we now know, premised on information he didn’t bother to verify. It was a dangerous abuse of authority that has badly compromised the Justice Dept’s integrity and Garland’s. He should resign.”

Perhaps in a sign that Garland has realized the grievous nature of his error, during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, he took pains to say that he couldn’t “imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children…nor [could he] imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”

Americans who have grown increasingly wary of this administration’s glaringly authoritarian tendencies, however, may not be so easily convinced.