Biden Attorney General Has Telling Response When Pressed About Bragg, Willis, James

Biden Attorney General Has Telling Response When Pressed About Bragg, Willis, James

Attorney General Merrick Garland engaged in a contentious exchange with Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Tuesday. Gaetz questioned Garland about whether the Justice Department had conspired with local and state officials in pursuing legal action against former President Donald Trump.

Garland dodged several questions and ultimately asserted that the DOJ was not involved in civil and criminal cases against Trump in New York and Georgia.

This intense discussion took place during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, where Gaetz aimed to clarify the DOJ’s role in cases separate from its own two federal cases against Trump.

“Mr. Attorney General, you’ve told us it’s a dangerous conspiracy theory to allege that the Department of Justice is communicating with these state and local prosecutions against Trump,” Gaetz began his questioning of Garland.

Gaetz continued, “You can clear it all up for us right now, will the Department of Justice provide to the committee all documents, all correspondence, between the department and Alvin Bragg’s office, and Fani Willis’ office and Letitia James’ office?”

Garland stated that the three state and local officials run “independent” offices but was interrupted by Gaetz, who retorted, “I don’t need a history lesson.”

“The question is whether or not you will provide all your documents and correspondence. That’s the question,” Gaetz reiterated.

Garland explained that James, the attorney general of New York, Bragg the Manhattan District Attorney, and Willis, the District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, are all “independent” from his federal department.

“The question is whether you communicate with them, not whether you control them,” Gaetz said before insisting that Garland voluntarily hand over communications between the state and local offices and the DOJ.

Gaetz then asked Garland about Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing Trump’s New York criminal trial, scheduled to sentence him on July 11. Gaetz highlighted that Merchan had donated to President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020, noting that New York’s judicial ethics rules prohibit judges from making contributions to political candidates.

“When you were a judge, did you ever make political donations to partisan candidates?” Gaetz asked.

Garland replied that he did not donate to partisan political campaigns and declined to comment on the upcoming sentence that Merchan would deliver after Trump was convicted of 34 felony counts of “falsifying business records.”

“I’m well aware you’re not asking me a hypothetical,” Garland told Gaetz. “You’re asking me to comment on a jury verdict in another jurisdiction which has to be respected.”

Gaetz then brought up another potential conflict of interest involving Merchan, pointing out that his daughter Loren Merchan worked as a political consultant for high-profile Democrats, including the Biden campaign and Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2019 campaign, according to Newsweek.

“Well, it seems you’re connecting the dots, Mr. Attorney General! I’m just asking in general principle, but you are aware that Judge Merchan’s daughter was profiting off this prosecution,” Gaetz remarked.

“You are aware that that creates the appearance of impropriety. You know there’s a reason there’s a federal rule against judges giving donations because it is the very attack on the judicial process that we’re concerned about,” Gaetz added.

Garland disagreed with Gaetz and did not provide clear answers to his questions.

In his opening remarks on Tuesday morning, Garland anticipated tough questions from Republicans regarding the DOJ’s role in Trump’s prosecutions in New York and Georgia. He dismissed any attempts to link the DOJ to these prosecutions as a “conspiracy theory.”

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