Attorney General Merrick Garland laughed at a Republican senator's question during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), like every other GOP senator before him, used his allotted time to pepper Garland with questions about an Oct. 4 memo directing the Department of Justice to investigate threats against local school board members after a national organization asked President Joe Biden for federal intervention.

"The National School Board Association sent the letter to the White House and the White House promptly called you and said, 'Sic the FBI on parents at school board hearings, and that's what I mean," Kennedy said. "The White House is the prophet here and you're just the vessel, correct?"

Garland insisted he did not coordinate with the White House on the memo, which he said reflected his own views on protecting public officials from violence and threats while protecting parents' rights, but Kennedy pressed on.

"I get that, I heard your testimony," Kennedy said. "Were you worried you'd be fired if you didn't issue the memorandum?"

Garland laughed out loud before continuing.

"I'm not -- I signed on this memorandum on my own," Garland said. "I said from the very beginning, I've taken this job to protect the Department of Justice and make independent determinations with respect to prosecution, and I will do that."

Merrick Garland bursts into laughter at GOP senator's question