Grassley to Garland on crime prevention: 'Difficult to discern what you are committing to do at all'

Senator says attorney general is using "inscrutable terms that could mean almost anything."
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.)

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on Friday queried U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland about the latter's recent proposal to "reduce violent crime" around the country, claiming the attorney general's announced plan was "inscrutable" and difficult to understand. 

Garland late last month released the plans of what he deemed "a new effort to reduce violent crime" in the U.S. In that press release, Garland said the Justice Department would seek to "build trust and earn legitimacy" within U.S. communities, "invest in prevention and intervention programs," and "target enforcement efforts and priorities," among other initiatives. 

Grassley in his Friday letter to Garland criticized the language in the announcement, labeling the proposals as "inscrutable terms that could mean almost anything."

"I must tell you it is extremely difficult to discern what you are committing to do at all," Grassley said in the letter.

"Nonetheless," he continued, "your use of terms about shifting attention to community-based programs and setting strategic enforcement priorities has led me believe your intention is to shift money and attention away from direct law enforcement to other priorities, in short, to defund the police."

The Iowa senator lodged over half a dozen questions to the Justice Department, including "how much money ... the Department plan[s] to spend researching, rather than combatting, violent crime," and "what metrics ... the Department [will] use to 'measure results.'"

Grassley gave Garland a June 18 deadline to respond.