Reportedly, the relationship between Joe Biden and AG Merrick Garland has grown "frosty," according to insiders. Readers can probably piece together a pretty good general picture of why that might be. However, we can put a finer point on it by raising just two questions for the AG to answer (not that he's going to do so).
First up, Donald Trump, a former president, quite clearly took classified materials to which he was not entitled, refused to give them back, and then tried to hide them. Mike Pence, a former vice president, quite clearly took classified materials to which he was not entitled, discovered the mistake, and immediately turned them over. Biden, a former vice president, quite clearly took classified materials to which he was not entitled, discovered the mistake, and immediately turned them over.
One of these things is not like the others. And so, taking a careful look at Trump is entirely justifiable. Alternatively, given the high station these three men occupied, one could make the case that all three should have been put under the microscope, just to make sure there was no funny business. Instead, we got a situation where Trump and Biden got the special counsel treatment, while the Pence case was quickly closed.
That leads us to question one for Garland: Why?
Second up, Hunter Biden, is a troubled fellow who clearly broke some laws, although laws of the sort that rarely result in the defendant having the book thrown at them. U.S. Attorney and Trump administration holdover David Weiss spent 4 years investigating, came up with relatively little of substance for his efforts, and then turned around and botched a plea agreement so badly a judge rejected it. What was Weiss' reward for all of this? A promotion to special counsel.
That leads us to question two for Garland: Why?
Of course, we know the answer to these questions, even without benefit of a direct answer from Garland. He's bending over backwards (and leftways and rightways and sideways) to give the appearance of being fair and impartial, and of not playing favorites. But it's evident that he's overcorrected, and that he's holding the Bidens to a higher standard than, well, anyone else, even another vice president. If an AG's decision making is being affected by political considerations more than their beliefs in what is right and just, then they're not doing their job properly. That includes AGs like Bill Barr, who pander to the party in power, along with AGs like Garland, who... well, pander to the party not in power.
And it's not like Garland is actually achieving anything meaningful with his performative "fairness." Trumpers still think that both Bidens are getting the kid-gloves treatment, and that a real AG would have already thrown both of them in prison and then thrown away the key.
Indeed, the fact that we currently have three special counsels, more than at any other time in U.S. history, is also something of a black mark against the AG. Yes, a special counsel ostensibly makes an investigation more fair and impartial, but such a person also acts as a shield for the AG, giving them an extra layer of protection from public scrutiny and criticism. Barring the revelation of rather significant information not currently known, Garland could have made the decision about the Biden classified files himself. Similarly, he could very well have decided that after 4 years of investigation that produced only a couple of tax offenses and a violation of a law that may not be on the books anymore by this time next year, there was no "there" there, and it was time to let Hunter Biden go. But now, thanks to Weiss' promotion, Garland can't quash the charges unless he goes before Congress to explain himself. And what do you think the odds are he'll do that?
So yeah, no wonder Joe Biden does not have warm and fuzzy feelings about the AG right now. (Z)