Attorney General Merrick Garland calls attacks against Justice Department ‘dangerous for our democracy’

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday that rising “baseless, personal and dangerous” attacks on the Justice Department have become “dangerous for our democracy.”

“We will not be intimidated by these attacks. But it is absurd and dangerous that public servants, many of whom risk their lives every day, are being threatened for simply doing their jobs and adhering to the principles that have long guided the Justice Department’s work,” Garland wrote in the op-ed.

Continued unfounded attacks on the agency’s employees, he added, “are dangerous for people’s safety. They are dangerous for our democracy. This must stop.”

Garland’s latest comments echo his forceful defense of the Justice Department before the House Judiciary Committee last week. While he didn’t mention political parties in his op-ed Tuesday, Garland denounced a number of ”conspiracy theories” floated by Republicans about the Justice Department being weaponized against former President Donald Trump.

“The Justice Department makes decisions about criminal investigations based only on the facts and the law. We do not investigate people because of their last name, their political affiliation, the size of their bank account, where they come from or what they look like. We investigate and prosecute violations of federal law — nothing more, nothing less,” Garland said.

The House Rules Committee will meet later Tuesday to consider recommending charges of contempt for the attorney general over his refusal to turn over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden’s handling of classified material and declined to bring charges.

Garland said in his testimony last week that while the department will not provide the audio recordings sought by the GOP lawmakers, it has “gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the committee gets responses to its legitimate requests for information,” including providing transcripts of the interview with Biden.

The DOJ has argued that the specific privacy concerns related to an audio recording of an interview are distinct from those of a written transcript, and how the release of such an audio file could dissuade cooperation from future witnesses in criminal investigations.

CNN has sued for access to recordings of federal investigators’ interview with Biden in the now-closed probe over his handling of classified documents.

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