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Ranking Member Nadler Opening Statement for the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice"

Today, Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following statement, as prepared for the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice":

"Mr. Chairman, I have been in Congress since 1992.

My colleagues and I, of course, have had our political disagreements in the past thirty years. 

But ultimately, in this Committee, we have worked together—more often than not, across the aisle—to pass transformative pieces of legislation intended to help the American people.

Legislation to protect women from domestic violence and sexual harassment.

Legislation to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

Legislation to fight racial discrimination and hate crimes.

Legislation to protect Americans’ privacy.

I am proud of that record of success, and proud of how much work of substance we have accomplished in this hearing room under the leadership of chairmen of both parties.

Which makes the current Republican House that much more frustrating.

I have been a member of this Committee for more than thirty years—and our work came to a dead stop when the MAGA Republicans took over the House and Chairman Jordan took the gavel of this Committee.

Don’t just take my word for it.

My Republican colleagues have said it best.

Representative Biggs said, quote, “We have nothing. In my opinion, we have nothing to go out there and campaign on. It’s embarrassing.”

Representative Roy said, quote, “I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing — one! — that I can go campaign on and say we did. One! Anybody sitting in the complex, you want to come down to the floor and come explain to me one material, meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done.”

I agree wholeheartedly.

This Committee, once an agent of momentum to move our country forward, has become little more than a field office for the Trump campaign.

The Republicans on this Committee have spent twenty million taxpayer dollars working to get Trump reelected.

Twenty million dollars on an impeachment inquiry based on statements from a witness who turned out to have ties to Russian intelligence.

Twenty million dollars attacking researchers who study disinformation and social media companies who are trying to stop disinformation—all in an effort to ensure that Russia can do whatever it wants to interfere in the November election.

Twenty million dollars attacking the work that the Justice Department and FBI are doing to keep Americans safe.

To be clear, this twenty-million-dollar effort seems nowhere close to satisfying MAGA extremists.  They want even more money and resources wasted on chasing conspiracy theories in defense of Donald Trump.

Here’s just a sampling of what MAGA leaders had to say over the past few days:

[Play Video Clip]

Unfortunately, those are the sentiments that govern my Republican colleagues here, today.

This hearing is not an attempt to conduct real, robust oversight of the Department of Justice, but rather an attempt to flog the Biden administration’s Attorney General and to create an outlet to spew more ridiculous conspiracies.

That’s why they held a hearing on what they’ve termed “lawfare”—the ridiculous assertion that the Department is somehow orchestrating state prosecutions of the former President for criminal activity that has been well documented.

That’s why the day after Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts by a jury of his peers, Chairman Jordan tried to drag Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg into this hearing room to discredit the lawful outcome of the trial.

And that’s why they’re making threats against and harassing the Fulton County District Attorney.  They are trying to intimidate her out of going after Trump, or at least to proactively discredit any conviction that comes out of the election interference prosecution.

Extreme MAGA Republicans will use every tool they have to persecute, harass, and impugn anyone who dares hold Donald Trump accountable. That includes the special counsel appointed by the Attorney General to investigate Trump’s role in the attacks of January 6th and his alleged theft of classified documents from the White House.

In service of a convicted felon, they will have totally squandered their opportunity to do something meaningful for the American people.

Their failure on this front stands in stark contrast to Attorney General Garland’s tenure at the Department of Justice, which has done vital work in recent years to protect the interests of the American people.

Under your leadership, Mr. Attorney General, the Department is protecting consumers by ensuring Ticketmaster can’t exploit its hold on the entertainment industry.

It is fighting to reduce violent crime, and has helped achieve decreasing levels of homicides, gun assaults, and burglaries across the country.

It is combatting the fentanyl epidemic, taking tens of millions of fentanyl pills off the street every year and prosecuting traffickers and dealers.

It is defending reproductive freedom in light of Roe v. Wade’s downfall, fighting to keep abortion healthcare and medications accessible to American women.

It is ensuring our election infrastructure is safe and secure so that we have a fully functional, secure, and safe election this November without foreign interference.

And so, so much more.

This DOJ is doing important work.

And we have the important job of making sure they do that work well.

Unfortunately, Republicans on this Committee, under the Chairman’s leadership, don’t want to help DOJ employees do their jobs.

They want to stop them from doing any work at all—taking them out at the knees, because that’s what Donald Trump wants.

These Republicans don’t care what’s in the interest of the American people. They just care about getting their favorite felon back in the White House.

General Garland, thank you for being here today, and I apologize in advance for the wild conspiracies and lies that will be told about you today.

You and I do not agree on everything, but you are a man of great character and professional integrity. 

I take great comfort in knowing that nothing my Republican colleagues say about you here will change the thoughtfulness and decency that mark your leadership of the Department.

I urge you not to take this process too personally.  Their desperation has nothing to do with your record as Attorney General.

Thank you for being here, and I yield back."

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