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Merrick Garland Warns Against 'Dangerous' Criticism of DOJ in Op-ed

Garland warns against conspiracy theories and threats undermining public trust in the justice system.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has responded to what he describes as “unfounded attacks” on the Department of Justice (DOJ) through an op-ed in The Washington Post, asserting that such criticisms endanger DOJ employees and democracy itself. This comes as the GOP pushes back against what they see as partisan actions by the DOJ.

Garland’s op-ed calls for an end to the escalating wave of conspiracy theories, lies, and threats of violence targeting public servants, including the FBI. He referenced the multiple prosecutions against former President Donald Trump, who is running another campaign for the White House. Recently, Trump was found guilty on all felony counts in a New York hush-money case.

“These attacks come in the form of threats to defund particular department investigations, most recently the special counsel’s prosecution of the former president,” Garland wrote, hinting at the House GOP’s efforts to restrict federal funds for Trump prosecutors.

Garland highlighted how conspiracy theories undermine public trust in the judicial process. He pointed out the false claims suggesting that a local district attorney’s case resolved by a jury verdict was controlled by the DOJ.

Garland emphasized, “DOJ officials 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.”

He added, “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.”

This op-ed was published as House Republicans move toward holding Garland in contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena to provide recordings from special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced a “three-pronged” approach in response to what Republicans see as a “weaponized” justice system, involving investigations, legislation, and the power of the purse. Garland maintained that the DOJ does not make political decisions in criminal investigations and warned that “democracy cannot survive” without a justice system that ensures equal treatment for all citizens.

“Disagreements about politics are good for our democracy. They are normal,” Garland wrote. “But using conspiracy theories, falsehoods, violence and threats of violence to affect political outcomes is not normal. The short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country.”

Garland concluded with a stark warning: “Continued unfounded attacks against the Justice Department’s employees are dangerous for people’s safety. They are dangerous for our democracy. This must stop.”

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