U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testified before a Republican-controlled congressional committee on Wednesday, defending the independence of the Department of Justice and asserting that it does not do the bidding of the president. Garland's statements were in response to criticism of the department's handling of the indictments of former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. He emphasized that the Justice Department's job is not to take orders from anyone and that it works for the American people.
Garland's appearance before Congress marked the first time he testified since the indictments of both Trump and Hunter Biden. It came shortly after the Republican-led House launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden related to Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings. The White House has dismissed the probe as politically motivated and unsubstantiated.
Garland also addressed concerns about the department's handling of a tax investigation into Hunter Biden. He stated that he has not interfered with the investigation, and recently appointed the U.S. Attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, as a special counsel to continue the probe.
The testimony touched on the recent indictment of Hunter Biden on charges related to the purchase and possession of a firearm while using illegal drugs. Republicans criticized the indictment, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan calling it a "face-saving" move. Democrats pushed back, accusing Republicans of wasting taxpayer dollars on investigations into Biden.
During the hearing, Garland also defended the department's career prosecutors, who have faced threats for carrying out their duties. He highlighted the importance of protecting public servants from violence and threats.
In addition to discussing the Biden probes, Garland's testimony addressed the criminal charges against former President Trump. He refuted claims that he was told to indict Trump, stating that the decision was made by the special counsel.
Overall, Garland's appearance before Congress provided an opportunity for him to defend the independence of the Justice Department and address concerns about the handling of high-profile investigations. The testimony highlighted the ongoing political divisions surrounding these cases and the challenges faced by career prosecutors.