Sen. Josh Hawley is demanding that Attorney General Merrick Garland appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions under oath about a recent FBI SWAT raid targeting a pro-life activist in Pennsylvania.
Between 25 and 30 heavily armed agents banged on the door of the Bucks County home of pro-life activist Mark Houck, head of the pro-life group The King’s Men. Houck regularly travels to Philadelphia to provide sidewalk counseling outside a pair of abortion clinics, reports said. According to Mark’s family, the arrest appeared to stem from a case dropped by a federal court but picked up by Joe Biden’s Justice Department.
“Pennsylvania pro-life activist Ashley Garecht told The Daily Wire Houck was protecting his son from an aggressive Planned Parenthood escort harassing the boy, noting that the case was dismissed by a federal court in Philadelphia when the escort tried to press charges,” the outlet reported.
It’s not clear why the FBI was tasked to arrest Houck after the case was dismissed, but Hawley is demanding answers. “If the shocking reports about the FBI arresting a man Friday in rural Pennsylvania are true, then you have a lot to answer for,” he wrote in a letter to Garland.
“These reports state that federal authorities obtained a warrant under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act to arrest Mark Houck for allegedly committing a single count of simple assault by pushing a man near an abortion clinic,” he continued. “Houck contends that he only did so to defend his child against the man, and local authorities have already dismissed a separate criminal complaint against Houck for the conduct.”
“Not only did your office turn a local dispute into a national case, but the FBI reportedly executed the search warrant in as extreme a manner as one can image,” the Missouri Republican and former state attorney general continued.
“As Houck’s wife said, when they saw 20 or more agents arrest their father at gunpoint, ‘the kids were all just screaming,’” Hawley wrote. “To say the least, using this kind of force to make an arrest for a single charge of simple assault is unprecedented.”
The senator went on to note that while the DOJ moved to arrest a pro-life activist over a nothing charge, the department has refused to respond to dozens of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches around the country.
“I want to know from Merrick Garland directly why Biden’s DOJ is arresting Catholic protestors like terrorists – complete with SWAT-style tactics – while letting actual terrorist acts like firebombings go unpunished,” he said.
“The corruption & abuse of law is out of control,” Hawley noted further. “Come January, the new Republican Congress must launch a thorough, public investigation of DOJ & the FBI – from their targeting of parents to religious protestors to political opponents. What Biden is doing is wrong. And dangerous.”
“I believe you must testify, under oath, before the Senate Judiciary Committee about your selective use and apparent political weaponization of the FACE Act,” Hawley wrote.
He demanded answers to three questions “within 10 days” including why an FBI SWAT team was sent to execute a warrant for an arrest over an alleged simple assault.