Attorney General Merrick Garland slams theories about Trump, FBI criminal case

Attorney General Merrick Garland forcefully pushed back against the “false” and “extremely dangerous” narratives he says are being spread about the Justice Department during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, saying he and the ministry “shall not be intimidated.”

The hearing came as the House GOP threatened to hold Garland in contempt for withholding records they subpoenaed as part of special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into the president’s handling Joe Biden classified documents after his vice presidency, including audio recordings of Hur’s interview.

“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 said in his opening statements. “This effort is just the latest in a long line of attacks on the work of the Justice Department. »

Garland’s appearance before the committee became controversial from the start as a representative. Matt Gaetz initiated the Republicans’ questions. He peppered Garland with a combination of assumptions that the attorney general refused to engage with while trying to tie the Justice Department to state-level investigations independent of the department.

Gaetz highlighted the Justice Department’s interactions with the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose investigation into former President Donald Trump resulted in a jury conviction on 34 counts the last week, and with Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, the prosecutor. who filed a massive racketeering case against Trump.

The Florida Republican asked Garland if the Justice Department would provide documents and correspondence between the department and its offices. Garland responded that those two offices are independent of the Justice Department and said any congressional requests for correspondence would be referred to the Office of Legislative Affairs.

Gaetz then responded by saying that by refusing to immediately turn over such documents, the Justice Department was only fomenting more theories.

During the exchanges, Garland reiterated that the Justice Department was not involved in Bragg’s investigation. In his opening remarks, Garland said that “the conspiracy theory is an attack on the legal process itself.”

“The case in New York is being brought by the Manhattan District Attorney independently and voluntarily, as [his] his own determination of what was, what he believed to be a violation of state law,” Garland told Gaetz.

Garland also rebuked “the baseless and extremely dangerous lies… spread about the FBI’s law enforcement operations,” he said, an apparent reference to conspiracy theories spread by Trump and his allies according to which Biden would have authorized the use of deadly force in FBI research. Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat, asked Garland what the impact was on the department when Trump and Republicans made baseless claims that Biden sought to assassinate Trump during the Mar-a-Lago search. As part of the month of August. On August 8, 2022, during the operation at Mar-a-Lago, FBI agents received a standard policy document limiting the use of deadly force, according to the unsealed memo.

“It’s dangerous. It raises threats of violence against prosecutors and career agents,” Garland said. “The allegation is false, as the FBI has explained, the document being discussed is our standard use of force protocol, which limits the use of force and is a regular part of all security warrants. search of the package for the search of President Biden’s home as well.

Garland visibly grew emotionally when the Democratic representative asked her. Madeleine Dean on her concerns that institutions like the Justice Department are under attack in the United States

“Attacks on the rule of law undermine confidence in the fundamental element of our democracy that all people will be treated equally,” Garland said. “And I intend to continue to protect the rule of law, to protect the career employees of my department to make sure that they can continue to go about their business, which is doing what they necessary every day and not to be distracted by external influences, political or otherwise.

Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican, pressured Garland over the appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel, suggesting various times that Smith was a political hitman looking to “get” Trump.

“I appointed someone who was not a political appointee, someone who was independent, nonpartisan, with professional experience as a prosecutor. It seemed like the perfect resume to me,” Garland said.

Garland also responded directly when Jordan asked if he regretted choosing Smith to oversee the Trump investigations.

“No, I don’t regret choosing it,” Garland said.

Garland defended the Justice Department’s recent decision to urge Biden to assert executive privilege over remaining documents from Hur’s investigation, arguing that handing over the documents could have the impact of compromising future high-profile investigations .

“I view the contempt as a serious matter, but I will not jeopardize the ability of our prosecutors and agents to do their jobs effectively in future investigations,” Garland 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 defending our democracy.”

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