General Garland Due Wednesday for a Grilling From Congressional Republicans in Hearing Likely To Focus on Hunter Biden and Prosecution of Trump
The Judiciary Committee says it plans to focus on how Mr. Garland has ‘politicized and weaponized’ the Department of Justice.
Attorney General Garland, in what is expected to be a difficult day for the nation’s top law enforcement officer, will sit before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning to face a grilling from Republicans that will likely focus on the prosecution of President Trump and the yearslong investigation into Hunter Biden.
The committee’s website says the hearing “will examine how the Justice Department has become politicized and weaponized under the leadership of Attorney General Merrick Garland.” The general has come under criticism from Republicans complaining that he has “politicized” the department in investigating parents who protest at school board meetings, prosecuting the former president, and offering Mr. Biden fils a “sweetheart plea deal.”
Wednesday’s meeting will be the first time Mr. Garland has sat before the Republican-controlled committee since the GOP won the House last year. He has steadfastly denied any political bias. The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that his relationship with President Biden had “deteriorate[d] from distant to frigid.” GOP lawmakers, though, suspect just the opposite and are expected to argue as much during Wednesday’s hearing.
The most pressing matter for Republicans is likely to be the DOJ’s prosecution of the younger Mr. Biden and how it could affect the impeachment inquiry that has been launched against his father. In August, Mr. Garland elevated to special counsel the United States attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, who had for years been investigating the first son.
This came after two IRS whistleblowers testified before Congress that Mr. Weiss privately complained that his investigation of Mr. Biden was being slow-walked and obstructed by Mr. Garland’s senior staff. This has been disputed by Mr. Weiss in carefully written statements.
The allegation that Mr. Garland took a heavy hand in not allowing the prosecution of Mr. Biden to move forward — including the claim by whistleblowers that Mr. Weiss was not allowed to bring charges in jurisdictions other than his own — could fuel the apparently dormant push for the attorney general’s impeachment, the prospect of which was first raised by Speaker McCarthy this summer.
Mr. Biden’s “sweetheart plea deal,” as Republicans have called it, fell apart earlier this summer when a judge at Delaware demanded lawyers figure out whether the first son was immune from future prosecutions. Lawyers ultimately could not come to an agreement, which then led to three felony gun charges being levied against Mr. Biden on September 14.
When Mr. Weiss charged Mr. Biden, Republicans scoffed at the charges, arguing that the gun violations are immaterial to the allegations surrounding his business dealings — that the elder Mr. Biden improperly used his powers as vice president to support and personally profit from his son’s foreign business affairs. Mr. Garland is expected to be asked if the DOJ will vigorously investigate these matters or just focus on Mr. Biden’s tax and firearms violations, which don’t involve his father.
Mr. Weiss is unlikely to appear before Congress now that the special counsel’s investigation is ongoing, though it is unclear if the investigation includes allegations that Mr. Biden and his father each received $5 million from a Ukrainian businessman or Mr. Biden’s lack of registration as a foreign agent when working as a lobbyist.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, has made it one of his top priorities from his perch to investigate the DOJ and its role in the prosecution of Mr. Trump. He recently launched an investigation into Mr. Smith’s office for so-called prosecutorial misconduct in its prosecution of the former president. The investigation hinges on allegations that Mr. Smith’s deputy, Jay Bratt, hinted to an attorney, Stanley Woodward, that he may be viewed favorably by the Biden administration for a federal judgeship if his client, Mr. Trump’s valet, Waltine Nauta, cooperated with their probe.
“This attempt to inappropriately coerce Mr. Woodward raises serious concerns about the abusive tactics of the Office of the Special Counsel and the Department’s commitment to its mission to uphold the rule of law and ensure impartial justice,” the committee wrote in a press release announcing its probe.
Mr. Jordan is also investigating the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, for her prosecution of Mr. Trump. Ms. Willis has since accused the congressman of launching an “illegal intrusion” into her office and its prosecutions. Previously, Mr. Jordan attempted to compel testimony from Manhattan’s district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who is also taking Mr. Trump to trial next year.