Attorney General Merrick Garland testified Wednesday morning during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, where Republican lawmakers grilled him over his department’s handling of criminal probes into former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, the events of Jan. 6 and other high-profile investigations – all while Democrats charged the GOP with abusing the process. Garland’s appearance in front of the Judiciary Committee is his first since he appointed special counsel Jack Smith to investigate Trump in his handling of classified documents and his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio criticized the Justice Department’s handling of the cases connected with former President Donald Trump, and alleged it handed President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, a “sweetheart deal” that was rejected by a federal judge. Despite the questioning, Garland said he would not comment about ongoing investigations into Trump and Hunter Biden, frustrating some Republicans. He also didn’t engage in GOP attacks against special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations into Trump.
Meanwhile Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, attacked Jordan in his opening statement and asserted that nearly all of the chair’s statements have already been refuted in testimony. Nadler said: “They have used their power to stage one political stunt after another. They have wasted countless taxpayers’ dollars on baseless investigations into President Biden and his family to find evidence in an absurd impeachment, desperate to distract from the mounting legal peril facing Donald Trump.”
Repeatedly, Garland insisted that he did not ask questions about the Hunter Biden case because he made a promise not to weigh in. Garland said no one from the White House or connected with President Joe Biden had contacted him about the cases into Hunter Biden or Trump: “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.”
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