Garland blasts ‘baseless’ attacks on DOJ: ‘Absurd and dangerous’

Attorney General Merrick Garland defended federal law enforcement agencies as he stares down a contempt of Congress charge and as conspiracy theories about the FBI and Department of Justice rise. 

The country’s top law enforcement official addressed the repeated attacks on law enforcement officials and agencies, which he believes are born out of conspiracy theories, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post. He began his defense of the agency by citing a threat against an FBI facility in California in which a man wrote, “I can go on a mass murder spree. In fact, it would be very explainable by your actions.”

“In recent weeks, we have seen an escalation of attacks that go far beyond public scrutiny, criticism, and legitimate and necessary oversight of our work,” Garland wrote. “They are baseless, personal and dangerous.”

Garland referenced the attacks on law enforcement agencies in the recent context of former President Donald Trump’s repeated false claims that the criminal charges brought upon him in his New York hush money case were made in conjunction with the DOJ. 

“They come in the form of conspiracy theories crafted and spread for the purpose of undermining public trust in the judicial process itself,” Garland wrote. “Those include false claims that a case brought by a local district attorney and resolved by a jury verdict in a state trial was somehow controlled by the Justice Department.”

He said those working in law enforcement “will not be intimidated by these attacks” and that it is “absurd and dangerous that public servants” are “being threatened for simply doing their jobs.”

The op-ed comes as the House is set to vote on holding Garland in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena to release audio tapes of President Joe Biden’s interview with then-special counsel Robert Hur. 

He said the Justice Department “makes decisions about criminal investigations based only on the facts and the law” and does 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 wrote.

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He said attacks based on “conspiracy theories, falsehoods, violence and threats of violence to affect political outcomes” on agencies such as the DOJ are “not normal” and that “the short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country.”

“Continued unfounded attacks against the Justice Department’s employees are dangerous for people’s safety,” Garland wrote. “They are dangerous for our democracy. This must stop.”

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