McCarthy: FBI should just ignore DOJ order to investigate attacks on school officials

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claims the Biden administration is trying to 'intimidate' and 'silence parents.'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday that FBI Director Christopher Wray should ignore a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland addressing a spike in violence and harassment against school board members across the country.

In the memo, released on Monday, Garland says that the Department of Justice "is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate." He continues:

To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days … These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response. 

"America's Newsroom" host Dana Perino asked McCarthy how the memo should be handled: "Do you think somebody like Chris Wray, the head of the FBI, should refuse to go along with such a directive from the Justice Department?"

"Yes. He should come right out today and say that," McCarthy replied. "This is not the role of the Justice Department."

McCarthy also claimed in the interview that the Biden administration is seeking to "intimidate" and "silence" parents by working "to nationalize elementary school."

The rise in abuse and threats against school boards has coincided with Republican campaigns against masking, vaccination, and anti-racist school curricula.

Since the release of the memo, Republicans have attacked the document and mischaracterized it as an attempt to silence parents.

In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) falsely described the memo as an attempt to "chill" free speech.

Hawley's extended rant about the memo was featured earlier in the day on Fox News, before McCarthy appeared, in a segment on "Fox & Friends." Host Brian Kilmeade claimed the memo was "weaponizing" the Justice Department against parents, while host Steve Doocy argued that the document was "intimidating" parents.

The hosts shared a story from the front page of the conservative New York Post, which like Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, with the headline "Outrage as FBI targets angry moms."

Fox News, which has been instrumental in whipping up negative sentiment against local school boards, went after the memo during its programming and online on Tuesday. The network claimed, "The Biden DOJ just launched a new war … on parents," and host Laura Ingraham claimed, "The left is demonizing parents who stand up."

The single-page memo makes clear the Department believes "spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution," despite Republican and Fox efforts to rile up their base over it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.