Merrick Garland to testify before House Judiciary Committee 

September 20, 2023

Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to defend the Department of Justice in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday in an exchange that’s expected to get fiery. 

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) is also Chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which was created when Republicans took control of the House in January to investigate what Jordan has called “this weaponization of the DOJ against the American people.”

On Wednesday, Republicans are expected to harangue Garland over the DOJ’s handling of criminal prosecutions of former President Trump and the current President’s son, Hunter Biden. Garland has named career prosecutors as special counsels in both of these investigations. 

Jack Smith has brought indictments against Trump over his actions surrounding attempts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as his handling of classified documents post-Presidency.

David Weiss has indicted Hunter Biden on charges tied to his having possessed a gun while using narcotics.

Wednesday will mark the first time Garland is questioned directly by lawmakers since all of these indictments were handed up by grand juries. 

According to remarks released by the DOJ from Garland’s opening statement, he plans to go directly after Republicans’ criticism of his tenure by insisting that their efforts to target career officials is “dangerous”—particularly at a time when threats against public servants are on the rise.

“We will not be intimidated,” Garland will say, according to released excerpts of his statement. “We will do our jobs free from outside interference. And we will not back down from defending our democracy.”

And preempting likely accusations that the DOJ is using prosecutions as a way to tilt the 2024 election scales toward President Biden and away from a Republican contender—very possibly Trump—Garland is set to state, “Our job is not to take orders from the President, from Congress, or from anyone else, about who or what to criminally investigate. 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’s prosecutor. The Justice Department works for the American people.”

He’ll add, “There is not one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless; one for the rich, another for the poor; one for Democrats, another for Republicans; or different rules, depending upon one’s race or ethnicity or religion.”

In the past, Jordan has also blasted Garland for how the DOJ has handled inquiries involving school boards and anti-abortion protesters, among other investigations.

Our job is to pursue justice, without fear or favor,” Garland will say in his prepared remarks. “Our job is not to do what is politically convenient.”

PHOTO: Justice.gov

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