U.S. Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBriahna Joy Gray: Supreme Court’s ‘workaround’ for Garland daughter’s clerkship is not ‘available to all’ Biden administration criticized over report that it is not extending home confinement for prisoners Lawmakers introduce bipartisan Free Britney Act MORE on Wednesday issued new guidelines on communication between the Department of Justice and the White House, limiting the types of situations in which DOJ officials will speak to those in the administration.
“The success of the Department of Justice depends upon the trust of the American people,” Garland wrote. “That trust must be earned every day. And we can do so only through our adherence to the longstanding Departmental norms of independence from inappropriate influences, the principled exercise of discretion, and the treatment of like cases alike.”
According to Garland’s memorandum, the DOJ will not advise the White House on “pending or contemplated” law enforcement investigations unless it is deemed important to the “performance of the President’s duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.”
If such communication does occur, it will initially happen between only the attorney general and deputy attorney general and the counsel or deputy counsel to the president in order to insulate DOJ staff from “inappropriate influence.”
Requests for legal opinions from the White House must also be made through these parties.
Garland’s memorandum acknowledges, however, that it is “critically important” to have clear communication between the DOJ and the White House when it comes to matters of foreign relations and national security, and communication with national security officials will not be subject to the limitations detailed in his guidelines.
Upon announcing his nomination of Garland to be his attorney general, President BidenJoe BidenBiden says wages will need to increase to solve recruitment problems Caitlyn Jenner pledges to support Trump if he makes another bid for the White House Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying MORE vowed that he would keep the DOJ independent from the White House, marking a shift from former President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner pledges to support Trump if he makes another bid for the White House Biden says he doesn’t want voting rights ‘wrapped up’ in filibuster debate Club for Growth goes after Cheney in ad, compares her to Clinton MORE, who often pressured his attorneys general to look into personal vendettas.
“As Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti noted in issuing the Department’s first White House communication memorandum in 1979, these guidelines are not intended to wall off the Department from legitimate communications with the Administration,” Garland wrote. “Rather, they are intended to route communications to the appropriate officials so that the communications can be adequately reviewed and considered, free from the appearance or reality of inappropriate influence.”