On Wednesday, House Republicans used a regular oversight hearing to question Attorney General Merrick Garland about what they call the “weaponization” of the Justice Department under President Joe Biden.
This put him face-to-face with his most vocal detractors. For the first time in two years, Garland is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee at a momentous time in the history of the Justice Department: he is in charge of two cases involving Donald Trump, the first former president to be charged with a crime, and another involving the vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Republicans on the committee, led by its chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, immediately claimed that the Justice Department was shielding the Biden family while focusing on Trump’s opponent.
“President Biden is protected by one investigation. Another person is assaulting President Trump, said Ohio Republican Jordan in his opening remarks.
“The Justice Department is taking care of both sides of the issue.” Garland spoke out in defense of the nation’s largest law enforcement organization, which employs over 115,000 people, at a time when attacks against officers and their families on the political and physical front are on the rise.
The attorney general stated, “Our job is not to take orders from the president, from Congress, or from anyone else about who or what to criminally investigate.”
Democrats declared their intention to “act as kind of a truth squad” against Republican falsehoods and their continued support of Trump, who is currently the party’s front-runner to take on Biden in the general election next year.
Republicans, according to them, are attempting to cast a poor light on Biden in order to draw attention away from the legal issues facing the impeached former president.
“I’ll be using this opportunity to highlight just how destructive that is to our system of justice and how once again, it is the GOP willing to undermine our institutions in the defense of their indefensible candidate for president,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, a top Democrat on the committee, according to the Associated Press.
Additionally, Garland’s testimony comes just over a week after Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced the beginning of an impeachment investigation into his boss, Biden, with a particular focus on the way the Justice Department handled Hunter Biden’s protracted case.
The White House has attempted to shift the emphasis away from policy and has characterized the impeachment investigation as being without merit. On the other hand, Hunter Biden’s legal team has taken the offense against GOP critics, most recently filing a lawsuit.
Republicans claim that the Justice Department has not properly investigated the charges against the younger Biden, ranging from his service on the board of the Ukrainian energy business Burisma to his tax returns in California and Washington, D.C., both under Trump and Biden.
“I’m not a lawyer for the President. I should note that I am not the attorney general of Congress. The Justice Department serves the interests of the American people, according to Garland.