Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for the first time in two years, facing Republican criticism over what they perceive as the “weaponization” of the Justice Department under President Joe Biden. Garland will address concerns about the department’s independence and its handling of cases involving both former President Donald Trump and President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
In his prepared remarks, Garland emphasizes the importance of the Justice Department’s independence and impartiality, stating that their duty is to uphold the law without political influence. He also acknowledges the scrutiny and criticism that come with their work but cautions against singling out career public servants who are merely doing their jobs.
Republicans on the committee have not disclosed their specific questions for Garland but are expected to press him on the Trump and Hunter Biden cases. They accuse the Justice Department of failing to thoroughly investigate Hunter Biden’s activities, including his involvement with Ukrainian energy company Burisma and his tax filings.
Democrats plan to counter what they see as Republican attempts to distract from Trump’s legal challenges and tarnish President Biden. They view the GOP’s actions as an attempt to undermine the country’s institutions.
Garland’s testimony comes amid an impeachment inquiry into President Biden’s handling of the Justice Department, particularly its treatment of Hunter Biden’s case. The White House has dismissed the impeachment inquiry, focusing on policy matters instead.
Garland’s decision to grant special counsel status to U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump appointee overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation, aims to insulate the probe from political interference. Weiss recently indicted Hunter Biden on federal firearms charges.
The Republican chairmen of the Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees have launched an investigation into Weiss’s handling of the case, which was initially opened in 2018 following whistleblower claims by IRS agents alleging improper interference by the Justice Department.
Garland’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee underscores the ongoing political challenges facing the Justice Department and its role in high-profile investigations involving prominent individuals.