Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tore into Attorney General Merrick Garland in an oversight hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Appearing on C-SPAN, Cotton said, leering at Garland, ''You should resign in disgrace, judge.''
Moments before the remark, Cotton asked Garland what he meant by a letter, in which disagreements between parents and local school board officials were referred to, as a ''rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.''
''What is the National Security Division, Judge — these are the people, that are supposed to be chasing jihadists and Chinese spies; what does the National Security Division have to do with parents at school boards?'' Cotton asked, according to The Federalist.
''This is not, again, about parents at school boards. It's about threats of violence,'' Garland replied.
''Why do you continue to dissemble in front of this committee that you are only talking about violence and threats of violence when your memo says harassment and intimidation?'' Cotton said.
But Garland denied that the letter was about policing interactions between school boards and parents and instead maintained that the focus was any ''violence'' directed toward school board officials.
''This memorandum is not about parents being able to object in their school boards,'' Garland said, according to The Hill. ''They are protected by the First Amendment, as long as there are no threats of violence, they are completely protected.
''So parents can object to their school boards, about curriculum, about the treatment of their children, about school policies, all of that is 100 percent protected by the First Amendment and there is nothing in this memorandum contrary to that. We are only trying to prevent violence against school officials.''
Garland added earlier in the hearing that parents will still be a possible target of an investigation by the Department of Justice, despite the National School Boards Association's walking back its comments earlier this month.
''Your memo mentions that the National Security Division will get involved in school board investigations. Is the Justice Department National Security Division really necessary for keeping local school boards safe if parents aren't domestic terrorists?'' Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked before Cotton's inquiry.
''Why is the National Security Division involved at all? This kind of looks like something that would come out of some communist country.''
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