Attorney General Merrick Garland became emotional as he told Congress how he treats his position with respect as a way to “repay this country for the debt my family owes” for accepting those debts while on the run for the Holocaust.
During his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Garland emphasized that he did not improperly interfere with the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
His voice cracked and at one point tears welled in his eyes as he was brought before the panel to testify against Republican accusations that his office exhibits extreme political bias.
In particular, Republicans are irritated that Garland has decided to pick David Weiss as special prosecutor investigating 53-year-old Hunter Biden. The hearing comes days after Weiss charged Hunter with three counts of lying on a federal form to purchase a firearm.
But Biden’s Justice Department chief insisted: “I’ll say it again and say it again if I need to — I didn’t interfere… I left it up to Mr. Weiss to bring charges to submit or not.’
Attorney General Merrick Garland choked up during his opening statement at a judiciary hearing Wednesday as he spoke of his “debt” to the U.S. for taking in his family who fled the Holocaust
Republicans are annoyed that Garland picked Jack Smith to be special prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden. “Americans believe that there is an unequal application of the law in our country today. They believe it because it is,” Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in his opening statement
“Americans believe that there is an unequal application of the law in our country today. They believe it because it is,” Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in his opening statement.
A few moments later, Garland stepped back and said, “Our job is not to do what is politically expedient. Our job is not to take orders from the President, from Congress, or from anyone else about who or what should be criminally investigated.”
“I’m not the president’s lawyer,” Garland continued. “I will add: I am not an prosecutor of Congress. The Department of Justice works for the American people.”
Wednesday’s hearing showed the intensification of partisan brawling that will continue at the Capitol next Thursday with House Republicans’ first impeachment hearing against President Biden and his family’s business dealings.
Judiciary Committee member Jerry Nadler said in his opening statement: “Republicans will continue to do what they have been doing for years: discredit anyone who does not serve their political goals – at any cost.”
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) asked Garland if he has had “any personal contact with anyone at FBI headquarters regarding the Hunter Biden investigation.”
Garland said he couldn’t remember the answer.
“I’m sorry,” Representative Johnson interjected, “you do not recall whether you spoke to anyone at FBI Headquarters about an investigation into the President’s son?”
The attorney general responded by reiterating his promise to allow Special Prosecutor Weiss to conduct his investigation without interference, but said, “I don’t believe I did that.”
Garland repeatedly said during Wednesday’s hearing that he did not “interfere” with the investigation into Hunter Biden
During his opening statement, Garland got personal and nearly broke down in tears as he told the story of his family fleeing Europe during the Holocaust and coming to the United States.
“My grandmother was one of five children born in what is now Belarus. They made it to the United States, as did two of her siblings, the other two did not. Those two died during the Holocaust. No doubt, but in America the same thing would have happened to my grandmother,” he said.
“But this country took her in, and under that protection she was able to live without fear of persecution. That protection is what sets this country apart from so many others. The protection of justice, the rule of law, is the foundation of our system of government.”
Garland added, “Repaying this country for the debt my family owes for our lives has been the focus of my entire professional career.”
“That’s why I served at the Department of Justice under five different attorneys general, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. That is why I spent more than 25 years ensuring the rule of law as a judge, and why I left a lifetime appointment as a judge and returned to the Ministry of Justice two and a half years ago. And that’s why I’m here today.”
This anecdote was a way for Garland to share why it was so important to him to treat all people the same and administer justice equally.
“Our job is to uphold the rule of law – that means applying the same laws to everyone,” he stressed.
The attorney general emphasized, “There is not one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless, one for the rich and one for the poor, one for Democrats and one for Republicans.”