Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general of the United States, would not promise to protect special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Obama-Biden administration’s spying on the Trump campaign.
Garland made the stunning statement in response to questions from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“If confirmed, will you commit to providing special counsel Durham with the staff, resources, funds, and time needed to thoroughly complete the investigation?” asked Grassley.
“So, senator, I don’t have any information about the investigation as I sit here today, and another one of the very first things I’m going to have to do is speak with Mr. Durham and figure out how his investigation is going,” replied Garland. “I understand that he has been permitted to remain in his position, and sitting here today, I have no reason to think that that was not the correct decision.”
Grassley followed up by asking if Durham would only be removed “for cause.”
“I would have to have an opportunity to talk with him,” Garland responded. “I have not had that opportunity. As I said, I don’t have any reason, from what I know now, which is really very little, to make any determination on that ground. But I don’t have any reason to think that he should not remain in place.”
Garland also refused to commit to releasing the report to the public.
“I am a great believer in transparency. I would, though, have to talk with Mr. Durham and understand the nature of what he’s been doing and the nature of the report. But I am very much committed to transparency and to explaining Justice Department decision-making.”
Grassley noted that during his own confirmation hearing, Attorney General William Barr had promised to protect then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion. That investigation revealed there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Grassley, in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner prior to the hearing, had urged Garland to allow the Durham investigation to continue unimpeded and expressed concern over Garland’s lack of commitment to do so.
“When we discussed this over the phone you told me that your predisposition would be to review the record before making a decision,” Grassley said of Garland in the statement. “That answer surprised me. It’s not an answer this Committee would have accepted from Barr on Mueller. I think your predisposition, frankly, should be to protect and support the ongoing investigation as much as possible.”
Garland’s refusal to commit to protecting the Durham investigation raises significant questions about the Department of Justice being politicized the way it had been during the Obama-Biden administration. Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, obstructed dozens of investigations to protect Obama, and referred to himself as “the president’s wingman” during a radio interview in 2014.
In addition to obstructing investigations, Eric Holder launched sham investigations into administration corruption and obstructed dozens more, including the investigation of his inexplicable dropping of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, the Iran ransom scandal, and the Benghazi attack. In August 2014, 47 of 73 inspectors general wrote an open letter to Congress informing them that the Obama administration was obstructing their investigations. Holder also lied to Congress about Fast and Furious and refused to provide documents to Congress for their investigation, prompting a historic contempt vote.
Obama’s second attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was no better, as she took a secret meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport just days before the FBI chose not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her reckless handling of classified information. Both Lynch and Clinton claimed their meeting was a coincidence, and that their lengthy discussion focussed on their grandchildren. According to journalist Christopher Sign, who wrote a book on the secret meeting, despite reports that the meeting happened by chance, it was actually pre-planned.
Is Merrick Garland’s refusal to commit to protecting the Durham investigation a sign that the DOJ will once again become a political weapon of the White House like it was under Obama? I think we should all be concerned and Republicans should refuse to support Garland’s confirmation without his assurance that Durham will be allowed to complete his work.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, Gab, Facebook, MeWe, Heroes, Rumble, and CloutHub.