‘I Am Not the President’s Lawyer’: Attorney General Rejects Claims of Political Meddling at DOJ

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
September 20, 2023Congress

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Sept. 20 denied allegations that his Department of Justice (DOJ) had been politically influenced in its decisions amid ongoing Republican probes into the department’s conduct.

“I am not the president’s lawyer,” Mr. Garland said, heading off expected allegations that his agency had worked to protect the first family.

Mr. Garland’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee comes during ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, and two separate DOJ-led cases against former President Donald Trump. In both cases, the DOJ has faced accusations of being guided by political motives to protect the Biden family and to hurt President Trump.

In his opening remarks, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) referenced these cases, as well as a series of other allegations against the DOJ.

He accused the DOJ of overseeing “one investigation protecting President Biden, another prosecuting President Trump.”

Mr. Jordan told Mr. Garland to be prepared also to answer questions about allegations that the DOJ had targeted parents speaking out about controversial concepts of race and gender at school board meetings, allegations that the FBI considered sending confidential informants into traditionalist Catholic parishes, and the DOJ’s role in working with social media companies to suppress certain stories and ideas.

“1 in 5 Americans believe there is a double standard of justice in our country,” Mr. Jordan said.

In response, Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed that “extreme MAGA Republicans” were subverting the hearing to push what he called “a deluge of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations.”

Defending the Department

During his opening remarks, Mr. Garland claimed that there was a misunderstanding of “what [the DOJ’s] job is and what it is not,” citing some roles of the department like “defending reproductive rights” and “prosecuting hate crimes.”

“Our job is to pursue justice without fear or favor,” Mr. Garland said. “Our job is not to do what is politically convenient. Our job is not to take orders from the president, from Congress, or from anyone else, about who or what to criminally investigate.”

Mr. Garland denied accusations of politically-biased interference in the cases undertaken by the DOJ.

“As the president himself has said, and I reaffirm here today: I am not the president’s lawyer. I will also add that I am not Congress’ prosecutor,” he said. “The Justice Department works for the American people.”

He said the job of the DOJ is to follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead.

“All of us at the Justice Department recognize that with this work comes public scrutiny, criticism, and legitimate oversight. These are appropriate and important given the gravity of the matters before the Department,” Mr. Garland said. “But singling out individual career public servants who are just doing their jobs is dangerous—particularly at a time of increased threats to the safety of public servants and their families.”

“We will not be intimidated,” he concluded. “We will do our jobs free from outside interference. And we will not back down from defending our democracy.”

The House Judiciary responded to Mr. Garland’s claims in a post on X, calling Mr. Garland’s comments “false.”

“Attorney General Garland just falsely argued that DOJ doesn’t apply two standards of justice,” the panel wrote in a post. “It’s clear that if you’re a Biden or Clinton you’re held to a different standard of ‘justice’ than normal Americans.

“Everyone sees it.”

The hearing, as indicated by the opening salvos put forward by members of both parties, is expected to be a heated one touching on some of Congress’ most pressing concerns with the agency as it simultaneously considers the proper funding level for the DOJ and the FBI.

From The Epoch Times

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