Attorney General Merrick Garland Faces Grilling by House Judiciary Committee Republicans

Mark Tapscott
By Mark Tapscott
September 20, 2023Hunter Biden

When Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the big question will be whether he will be forthcoming in responding to questions, or cite “continuing investigations” to justify providing minimal or no information.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the judiciary panel’s chairman, expects, according to a spokesman, to focus on questions about the actions and lack thereof by two Special Counsels appointed by Garland—Jack Smith, who heads the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of former President Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida estate, and David Weiss, the Delaware U.S. Attorney who has been investigating Hunter Biden, the president’s son, for more than five years.

Mr. Jordan expects Mr. Garland to cite the fact that both Mr. Smith and Mr. Weiss are running continuing investigations as justification for divulging little or no information in response to questions by committee members. The Ohio Republican also expects the Attorney General to be uncooperative regarding other issues he is likely to be asked about, such as his role in DOJ’s probes of parents protesting obscene and racially biased curriculums, and imposing controversial policies such as unisex bathrooms.

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Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks in Washington on June 21, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Former Federal Election Commission (FEC) member Hans von Spakovsky, thinks judiciary panel members should push Garland for explanations of alleged foot-dragging on filing charges and questionable plea bargaining decisions by Mr. Weiss in the Hunter Biden probe. Mr. von Spakovsky is currently a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

“Garland should be asked detailed questions about the incompetence of David Weiss in allowing the statutes of limitations to expire on serious tax evasion felonies, in giving a sweetheart plea deal to Hunter Biden by agreeing to not even file gun charges initially until the plea deal was rejected by the judge, and allowing him to get away with probation for two ‘misdemeanor’ tax charges that involved up to $1.6 million in taxes not being paid,” Mr. von Spakovsky told The Epoch Times.

Mr. von Spakovsky added that when Mr. Garland “tries to say he can’t comment because the case is ongoing, he should be asked whether he approved of the way this case has been handled. He can answer that question without giving away any supposedly confidential law enforcement information. Does he really think not paying over a million dollars in taxes is a misdemeanor?”

The Heritage scholar suggested that Mr. Garland likely will be asked and should respond concretely to multiple questions on a host of issues related to allegations that President Joe Biden and his son have been involved in an influence-peddling scheme involving foreign interests buying access to the father via the son.

“He should also be asked directly why there is no investigation into the corruption allegations that have been made against Joe Biden.  Why is there no investigation?  Why has no outside special counsel been appointed?  Does he believe these allegations should be ignored,” Mr. von Spakovsky said.

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U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss in a file image. (Department of Justice via The Epoch Times)

It’s not clear if the Attorney General can use the continuing investigation card to decline to respond to questions concerning his appointment of Mr. Weiss as Special Counsel. Mr. Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year and prior to the Special Counsel appointment that he had “promised to ensure that [Mr. Weiss] is able to carry out his investigation and that he be able to run it and if he needs to bring it in another jurisdiction, he will have full authority to do that.”

But whistleblowers from the IRS have told the judiciary committee that Mr. Weiss claimed he did not have the authority to make final decisions on what to charge and in which jurisdictions. There are also questions raised by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and others about whether the Weiss appointment conflicts with the law establishing the Special Counsel positions.

Mike Davis, a former Senate Judiciary Committee investigator and more recently founder of the Article III Project, told The Epoch Times that “House Republicans need to focus on Garland’s shield protecting leftist radicals and his sword attacking Republicans. Why did his DOJ give amnesty to paid abortion activists obstructing justice by threatening and intimidating Supreme Court justices and their families in their own homes?”

Davis was referring to demonstrations at the home of Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh following the leak of the draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the nation. At one point, a California man was arrested after telling authorities he was armed and traveled to Maryland to attack Justice Kavanaugh and his family.

Mr. Davis also pointed to DOJ’s conduct of multiple investigations of President Trump as an area that judiciary committee members should closely quiz Mr. Garland.

“Republicans need to get to the bottom of Garland’s involvement in the prosecutions of Donald Trump. Has Joe Biden, any White House aide, or other Biden-aligned individual ever discussed the Trump prosecutions with him? When was the last time he spoke with Jack Smith? What did they discuss? How often does Garland communicate with Smith? Did he have foreknowledge of the indictments in New York and Atlanta,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Garland will surely be peppered as well with questions from committee members about the plea deal Mr. Weiss and the DOJ approved with Hunter Biden that would have effectively granted him immunity from all future criminal charges. The plea deal fell apart when the judge in the case questioned the immunity provision that was buried in the terms of the agreement.

Finally, Mr. Garland can expect to be challenged to confirm that Mr. Weiss will be allowed to testify before the judiciary panel in October. After tentatively agreeing to the appearance, DOJ officials have since seemed to be reneging on the offer and claiming the Mr. Weiss should appear only after the Hunter Biden case is closed.

From The Epoch Times

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