“I will not be intimidated”: Attorney General Merrick Garland denounces attacks on the Justice Department


Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to denounce “repeated attacks” and “conspiracy” theories floated by Republicans that the Justice Department is a weapon against former President Donald Trump during his opening statements to Congress on Tuesday , according to prepared remarks shared with CNN.

Garland’s forceful defense of the department and federal law enforcement will mark the start of what will likely be a tense, hours-long hearing before members of the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

In his most explicit comments since his confirmation in 2020, Garland will tell members of the House Judiciary Committee that recent attacks on the Justice Department “are unprecedented and baseless.”

“Some members of this committee and the Oversight Committee seek contempt as a means to obtain – without legitimate purpose – sensitive information from law enforcement that could undermine the integrity of future investigations,” Garland will say, according to prepared remarks.

The attorney general was summoned to Capitol Hill for a hearing on the department’s work under his leadership, including efforts to combat violent crime and investigate potential threats to the United States arising from conflicts abroad .

But Garland, who is at the center of a Republican-led contempt proceeding, is ready to forcefully push back against his critics.

Republicans are trying to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio tapes of the president’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur, who investigated his handling of classified documents and declined to press charges.

The contempt proceedings involve “false allegations that a jury verdict in a state trial, rendered by a local district attorney, was somehow controlled by the Department of Justice.” Justice,” Garland will say in his remarks, referring to the New York state trial in which Trump was convicted of falsifying business records.

“This conspiracy theory is an attack on the legal process itself,” Garland is expected to say.

In a letter to Garland ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, House GOP Reps. Chip Roy, Andy Biggs and Thomas Massie accused the Justice Department of “aggressive prosecution of American citizens who were present” at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 and demanded a briefing on the matter.

The attorney general will also allude to other threats stemming from federal investigations into Trump, including “extremely dangerous lies” spread about the FBI’s law enforcement operations and “threats to withhold funding for particular investigations of the ministry” like that of special advisor Jack Smith.

“This comes at a time when we are seeing heinous threats of violence directed against career Justice Department officials,” Garland is expected to say. But the long series of attacks “has not influenced, and will not influence, our decision-making.”

“I consider contempt to be a serious matter. But I will not jeopardize the ability of our prosecutors and agents to do their jobs effectively in future investigations,” Garland’s statement said.

“I will not be intimidated. And the Department of Justice will not be intimidated. We will continue to do our work without political influence. And we will not back down in our defense of our democracy.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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