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Norm Eisen’s testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary

Hearing on the weaponization of the federal government

FILE PHOTO: General view of the U.S. Capitol as the House of Representatives takes up debate of U.S. President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: General view of the U.S. Capitol as the House of Representatives takes up debate of U.S. President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
Editor's note:

The following testimony was presented before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s hearing on the weaponization of the federal government on February 6, 2024. You can watch the testimony here.

Chairman Jordan, Ranking Member Plaskett, and Members of this Subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me. I’m pleased to testify today in my personal capacity about how to avoid the weaponization of the federal government, with particular reference to issues of artificial intelligence (AI) and the First Amendment.

The first topic, weaponization of government, is an intensely personal one for me because my family was a victim of the worst weaponization of modern times: the Shoah, the Holocaust. My mother survived Auschwitz, a slave labor camp at Neuengamme, and a death train in the last days of the war. My father was trapped in Warsaw, Poland in 1939, miraculously made his way out and to the United States on the last boat from Greece during World War II in 1940, and then joined the U.S. army to fight that weaponization of government by the Nazis and Axis allies.

Most of the rest of their families did not survive. My maternal grandparents were murdered by weaponization—quite literally—in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. There and across Europe dozens of members of my family were murdered by real weaponization.

For that reason, among others, I have dedicated my professional life to fighting the genuine weaponization of government. When I represented the wrongly accused as a criminal defense lawyer for decades, that is what I was doing. And when I served as the White House ethics czar, as U.S. ambassador, and as counsel to this committee for the first impeachment and trial of President Trump arising out of his pressuring President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, I endeavored to do the same.

So I agree there can be no more important topic than the weaponization of government. I urge the Committee to focus on the most imminent threat of that weaponization now facing us as a nation: Donald Trump’s record of weaponizing the government and his promises to double down should he return to power.

Continue reading the full testimony or watch the full testimony starting at the 59:13 mark:

 

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