Garland’s lofty words, lowly deeds
There are words given substance by deeds, and there are words with no basis in truth. Attorney General Merrick Garland has proved to be a master of the latter. The Justice Department, he assures us, practices the singular standard of law that his oath of office demands. Sadly, his lofty words fail to match his deeds.
Mr. Garland appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to answer for his tenure as the nation’s top lawyer.
“The Justice Department works for the American people,” he said. “Our job is to follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead. And that is what we do.”
To the contrary, there is a glaring disparity between his handling of alleged wrongdoing on the part of former President Donald Trump and Mr. Garland’s boss, President Biden.
Among the blizzard of charges leveled against Mr. Trump is his purported unlawful retention of classified defense information at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. Special counsel Jack Smith, whom Mr. Garland handpicked last November for the job, promptly indicted Mr. Trump on 40 criminal counts. The trial is scheduled for March 2024 — just as the Republican front-runner competes in primary elections with the goal of challenging Mr. Biden for the presidency.
Mr. Biden has his own document troubles, with classified material turning up at a Biden-sponsored think tank in Washington and at his residence in Wilmington, Delaware. Unlike Mr. Trump, who had authority as president to declassify protected records, Mr. Biden reportedly copped his documents while serving as a U.S. senator and vice president.
Mr. Garland named special counsel Robert Hur in January — less than two months after the Smith appointment — to investigate the Biden case that mirrors Mr. Trump’s. The result? Not even a drip to the leak-loving media. Unlike his predecessor’s, Mr. Biden’s reelection bid is jeopardized only by matters of age-related mental acuity rather than illegality.
Mr. Garland flashed senior moments of his own when facing questions from lawmakers regarding the issue that has made Mr. Biden the target of a House impeachment inquiry: alleged involvement in son Hunter’s shady international business dealings.
When Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, asked whether the attorney general “had personal contact” with anyone at the FBI regarding the agency’s Hunter investigation, the white-haired lawman stuttered: “I don’t … I don’t recollect the answer to that question,” Mr. Garland said. “But the FBI works for the Justice Department.”
“You don’t recollect whether you talked to anyone at FBI headquarters about an investigation into the president’s son?” Mr. Johnson asked. An equally incredulous American public could reasonably conclude that Mr. Garland is less qualified for his job than they thought.
The Department of Justice has lost America’s trust. An Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey conducted in August found that only 17% of U.S. adults have “a great deal” of confidence in the people running the department.
Mr. Garland claims in noble words that he has no interest beyond equal justice for all. Americans see sordid deeds, though, in the double standard he applies to Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.