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Garland to Congress: I Am Not Your Prosecutor

AG Merrick Garland testified forcefully before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. He said: "I am not the president's lawyer. I will also add that I am not Congress' prosecutor." Take that, Congress, especially Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH). Garland said that his job is to pursue justice and that he doesn't take orders from anyone.

It's a tough job. Nobody likes him. Republicans hate him because the DoJ is going after Donald Trump for trying to overturn an election he lost. Democrats dislike him because they say he is too timid in going after Trump. It's certainly true that if some minor employee for a military contractor leaked a single classified document, she would be denied bail and get 5 years in prison. In fact, it happened in 2016 when Reality Winner leaked one document about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump had boxes and boxes of secret documents in an unsecured location many people may have had access to. Only after multiple polite attempts to get Trump to return the documents, did the DoJ do something. Democrats see this as the DoJ treating Trump with kid gloves.

This was Garland's first appearance before Congress since appointing Jack Smith as special prosecutor. He was much more aggressive than in the past. He denounced threats against prosecutors and said they will not be intimidated. He also said that he will not be deterred from defending democracy. He further said that the Dept. is not politicized and certainly not weaponized against conservatives. He also said that he had not discussed Hunter Biden with the president.

Republicans went after him for allegedly interfering in the probe of Hunter Biden, something Garland and the prosecutor, David Weiss, vigorously deny (see next item). He did agree in August to make Weiss a special counsel. Garland repeatedly said that he has not interfered with Weiss in the past and will continue not interfering in the future.

While Jordan kept going after Garland, the ranking member, Jerry Nadler (D-NY) kept going after Jordan, pointing out that every claim Jordan made had been debunked by witnesses before the Committee. Every time a Committee member asked Garland a question, he started to answer and then one or more Republicans on the Committee talked over him, not letting him answer their own questions. As usual, the hearing was all about grandstanding. No actual information transfer occurred. (V)

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