Merrick Garland: Critics of DOJ Are Attacking ‘Democracy’

FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies as the Senate Judiciary Committee examin
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the FBI during a press conference on Friday amid Republican frustration over the agency stonewalling their requests for information related to Hunter Biden.

“I certainly understand that some have chosen to attack the integrity of the Justice Department as components and its employees by claiming that we do not treat like cases alike,” he said, adding, “This constitutes an attack on an institution that is essential to American democracy and essential to the safety of the American people. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Garland stated:

You’ve all heard me say many times that we make our cases based on the facts and the law. These are not just words. These are what we live by. They’re the foundation of the way we make these decisions. The agents of the FBI as well as the DEA, the ATF, our deputy US Marshals every day often at great personal risk, protect the American people and secure its safety. Our cases are based on their work. I could not be more proud to work with them.

Garland’s comments were in response to a reporter asking him about House Oversight Committee Republicans threatening to vote to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt for not handing over an FBI document where an informant told the agency that Joe and Hunter Biden received $5 million each in exchange for helping a Ukrainian oligarch with legal issues in 2015 and 2016.

FBI Director Christopher Wray listens at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber).


Then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, R, and his son Hunter Biden, L, in the village of Sojevo, Kosovo, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu).

Wray relented at the last minute and allowed the committee members to view the unclassified document in a sensitive compartmented information facility on Capitol Hill.

The reporter asked Garland if the American people should be “concerned about the integrity components of this Justice Department” and his thoughts about how Republicans were “acting”:

The Justice Department has come under heavy criticism from the right after former President Donald Trump was charged with 37 felony counts related to his retention of allegedly classified documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago and obstruction while Hunter Biden received a “sweetheart” plea deal where he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor federal tax violations and a federal gun violation and will likely avoid any jail time.

Republicans in Congress have slammed what they have called a “two-tiered” justice system. House Republicans have vowed to continue investigating Hunter Biden despite the plea deal and to say with the conclusion of the DOJ’s investigation into Biden that the agency can no longer withhold information because of a “pending” investigation. The DOJ said the investigation was “ongoing,” but it is unclear what exact aspects of the investigation are ongoing.

On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans released transcripts from an interview with an IRS whistleblower, IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley, who alleged that Garland interfered in Delaware U.S. attorney David Weiss’s attempts to investigate Hunter Biden.

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