Attorney General Merrick Garland was set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday amid special counsel investigations.
In November, Garland appointed veteran career prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against former President Trump in the investigations into Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection and whether he obstructed justice in the removal and transporting hundreds of documents from the White House to his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago.
In January, Garland named former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur to investigate the discovery of classified documents at President Biden’s personal properties.
A DOJ spokesperson said Garland’s opening remarks will outline accomplishments at the Department of Justice under his tenure and defend the work of its employees.
The prepared remarks are also expected to touch on such topics as violent crime and hate crime, protecting reproductive freedom, and partnering with Ukraine against Russia.
According to his prepared remarks, Garland will say, “Every day, the 115,000 employees of the Justice Department work tirelessly to fulfill our mission: to uphold the rule of law, to keep our country safe, and to protect civil rights.”
He’ll also praise the FBI, the ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Garland faces the Senate committee at a time when House Republicans—and in particular House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH)—have vowed to probe what they say is “this weaponization of the DOJ against the American people.”
Senators might also ask Garland about Charles McGonigal, the former FBI counterintelligence agent who faces criminal charges for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia by allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2018—the year he retired from the Bureau. Deripaska was linked to the FBI’s Russia probe through his ties to 2016 Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort.
Senators might also press Garland on 2021’s FBI investigation into what others at the DOJ called alleged “domestic terror” threats against teachers and school board members, as well as the DOJ’s review of the death of Tyre Nichols after a police beating in Memphis. Anti-trust laws surrounding November’s Ticketmaster debacle may also surface as a topic.
Garland, however, will likely be hesitant to answer questions about any ongoing DOJ investigations.