Garland defends Hunter Biden investigation and refuses to divulge details | World News - Hindustan Times

'I'm not Congress's prosecutor,' Attorney General Garland holds firm against GOP's push for Hunter Biden inquiry details

Sep 21, 2023 06:04 AM IST

Attorney General Merrick Garland defends DOJ's investigation into Hunter Biden, refuses to disclose details under congressional pressure.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland staunchly defended the Justice Department's investigation into Hunter Biden during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, asserting that he was "not Congress's prosecutor" and refusing to divulge investigative details under congressional pressure.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(AP)
Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(AP)

House Republicans, keen on bolstering an impeachment inquiry into President Biden over allegations of profiting from Hunter's business dealings, targeted Garland. They suggested contempt charges or impeachment for his unwillingness to fully cooperate.

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Many of the claims against Garland, portraying him as part of a Democratic plot to protect the Bidens and prosecute Trump, lacked factual basis. Garland denounced the escalating threats against prosecutors and FBI agents by Trump supporters.

"Singling out individual career public servants who are just doing their jobs is dangerous — particularly at a time of increased threats to the safety of public servants and their families," Garland declared.

Garland's testimony, his first before a committee dominated by far-right Trump loyalists since the Hunter Biden investigation's turmoil over a collapsed plea deal, veered away from routine oversight discussions.

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Republicans focused on former IRS investigator Gary Shapley's claim that the U.S. attorney for Delaware, David C. Weiss, was hindered from fully investigating Hunter Biden's tax case. Garland cited his promise not to interfere with Weiss's work, explaining, "The way to not interfere is to not investigate an investigation."

The theory that President Biden intervened to shield his son underpins the impeachment inquiry. Despite taking steps to distance himself from the case, Republicans view Garland as a critical link.

Garland faced demands for access to documents and officials from Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, who claimed they were essential for committee oversight. The department refused, citing laws preventing the disclosure of open investigation details, leading to contempt threats.

Mr. Garland defended himself when questioned about his role in indicting former President Trump, refuting claims that President Biden influenced the decision. "No one has told me to indict...the decision to indict was made by the special counsel," Garland clarified.

Throughout the hearing, Garland's frustration grew evident. Representative Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Republican, alleged religious discrimination by the Justice Department. Garland, who comes from a Jewish family that fled anti-Semitism, vehemently denied the accusation.

Mr. Jordan repeatedly accused the Justice Department of slow-walking potential tax charges against Hunter Biden due to expired statutes of limitations. However, the FBI continues to investigate Hunter Biden for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The hearing, marked by political combat, saw both sides trading blows. Representative Jerrold Nadler accused "extreme MAGA Republicans" of trying to distract from multiple Trump indictments, while Garland's voice grew hoarse from hours of intense questioning.

When Representative Matt Gaetz attacked Garland, Representative Steve Cohen raised the Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz's sex trafficking, highlighting that no charges were filed as proof of impartiality.

"The department does not make comments about its investigations," Garland stated in response.

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He emphasized the importance of protecting public servants from threats and defended his commitment to non-interference in the investigation.

While House Republicans aimed to bolster an impeachment inquiry against President Biden, Garland held his ground, stating that he would not be swayed by external pressures and emphasizing the rule of law.

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