Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies to Congress on Hunter Biden charges

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies to Congress on Hunter Biden charges

Attorney General Merrick Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee today.
It was his first appearance before Congress.
since two criminal indictments were brought against former President Donald Trump
and a plea deal for Hunter Biden collapsed.
In his opening statement.
Garland pushed back against accusations of political bias within the Justice Department.
I am not the president’s lawyer.
I will add.
I am not Congress’s prosecutor.
The Justice Department works for the American people.
Our job is to follow the facts and the law.
and that is what we do.
CBS News Senior Investigative Correspondent Katherine Harage joins us now.
Katherine.
I always get to see you.
Republicans have gone on the attack immediately focusing on Hunter Biden’s work at Burisma.
Tell us about the line of questioning that took place.
Well.
good to be with you.
The Republicans are alleging that there has been preferential treatment in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation.
In the words of the Republican chairman.
he said the fix is in.
And during the testimony.
they pointed to this failed plea agreement
and the fact that a federal judge in Delaware found the terms of the agreement were defective
and some without any legal precedent.
What’s really standing out from the Attorney General’s testimony
is that he believes these special counsels.
they really own the decisions.
And that is true whether these decisions are controversial or not controversial.
And in this exchange.
you’ll hear a debate over a decision
to apparently let the statute of limitations run out
on this income that was earned by the president’s son sitting on the board of the firm.
the energy firm.
Burisma.
What I’m wondering is why you guys let the statute of limitations lapse
for those tax years that dealt with Burisma income?
There’s one more fact that’s important.
and that is that this investigation was being conducted by Mr.
Weiss
and appointee of President Trump.
You will at the appropriate time have the opportunity to ask Mr.
Weiss that question
and he will no doubt address it in the public report that will be transmitted to the Congress.
I don’t know the answer.
What was clear in the Attorney General’s testimony is that he’s taken a hands-off approach
to both special counsels.
Jack Smith in the President Trump case and then also Hunter Biden.
And in these cases.
he’s saying you may not like the decisions that they’re making.
I’m not interfering in these decisions and there will ultimately be a report
where you can assess and weigh the decisions and the procedures that were followed here.
Republicans pushed back against that saying that could be a year.
18 months out
and they clearly want to have more information in a contemporaneous way.
So.
Catherine.
we’ve heard the Republican party line on this.
What are Democrats saying?
Democrats have consistently said throughout the hearing that this is an effort to distract
from former President Trump’s very serious legal position.
these 91 charges that he’s facing across a whole spectrum of criminal investigations.
And they believe that the Republicans.
and they allege that by singling out law enforcement officials.
they are creating a very serious threat environment for these officials.
And in fact.
Attorney General Garland testified that the FBI had set up an office
of about 10 individuals whose specific job is to handle these threats.
the allegation being it’s being generated by the rhetoric
that’s coming from Capitol Hill lawmakers and others.
Catherine.
the Attorney General was also asked specific questions
about the whistleblower allegation specifically from Jim Jordan.
Tell us about that.
How did that go down?
Well.
the two IRS whistleblowers first spoke with CBS News and they alleged
that the investigation had been slow walked and more specifically
that then US Attorney David Weiss tried to bring charges first in Washington.
D.C.
and then California.
but the US attorneys and those jurisdictions
who are political appointees refused to partner with him.
What the Attorney General said in response is that David Weiss
understood very clearly that if he wanted to bring charges in those jurisdictions.
he would need to go to the Justice Department
and get those appropriate protections and assurances to allow him to go forward.
On this allegation of slow walking.
the Attorney General testified
that there is a process in place and sound minded people
can have a difference of opinion as to whether it was cumbersome
or there was slow walking or it was simply following the procedures that are in place.
Alright.
Catherine.
thank you.

 

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