Is Garland seeking revenge on GOP?
Certainly, Attorney General Merrick Garland must have been very disappointed in not being confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court. Democrats claim that seat was stolen by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Yes, there was some bare-knuckle political fighting, but nothing unconstitutional … illegal … or nothing that Democrats would not have done if the situation was reversed.
But just as pragmatic politics was at play in holding up the Garland nomination, retribution is also a mainstay in political matters. The Capitol Hill riot has given Garland a golden opportunity to inflict retribution on the GOP.
As President Biden’s Attorney General, Garland has a natural political interest in making Republicans look bad. The circumstances of his failed Supreme Court nomination can only amplify his natural and normal political biases.
Yes, they say that he is committed to following the facts and applying the rule-of-law in an impartial manner — that the Justice Department is a quasi-independent agency. Yeah, right. And I suppose Biden is a triathlon athlete. Anyone who gets appointed by a partisan politician is going to be partisan to a greater or lesser degree … period.
Garland is getting criticized by the rabid partisans on the left for being too slow in bringing charges against Capitol Hill rioters. They also complain that the charges are too mild – nothing that supports the Democrats’ narrative that it was a deeply rooted and carefully planned insurrection as part of a broader coup attempt that is still going on.
Garland’s failure to meet the hardcore partisans’ desires may have to do with the fact that even a biased Attorney General has to live within the boundaries of the law to some extent. He must evaluate what can win convictions in court. The political narrative of an insurrection does not seem to meet the legal standards with which Garland has to deal. Maybe the G can indict a ham sandwich, but he will not get a conviction in a court-of-law.
How far Garland will go in the future to politicize the process is yet to be determined. He has some options. But before we get to the future, Garland may have revealed his political interests already.
The normal procedure when both the Department of Justice and Congress have an interest in a potential criminal case is for the DOJ that takes precedence. Congress stands down until the DOJ has done its work. One of the reasons is that the DOJ deals with the law … indictments … court cases … sentencing. Congress can only “investigate” and produce nothing more than political fodder. It cannot indict or prosecute. It cannot even enforce its own subpoenas. It must rely on the DOJ to do that.
Another reason that the DOJ generally goes first is that Congress –in pursuing its partisan interests – can screw up an investigation. It can – and has – weakened the legal cases against potential defendants. I can give witnesses vital information before they are brought in by the DOJ.
So, why didn’t the DOJ go first?
Did you ever wonder why the DOJ has not been enforcing Congressional subpoenas in the Capitol Hill riot case? It is possible because the DOJ would prefer to hear from the witnesses BEFORE Congress mucks up the testimony.
So, why didn’t the DOJ go first?
In not taking up the DOJ’s prerogative to go first, Garland may be revealing his political hand. If a real criminal investigation were going on – especially against powerful political figures – that investigation would have remained behind closed doors until indictments were issued. Although there would be occasional politically motivated leaks timed to impact on the November election.
By allowing the kangaroo Congressional Select Committee to investigate and issue reports strategically timed for the 2022 elections, Garland essentially assured that the skullduggery of the politically biased lynch mob Committee will have been released in time to affect the campaigns. And remember, that the Committee is a political creature — and will issue a political report. It only plays in the court-of-public-opinion. It has no legal authority.
There is no doubt that Garland’s DOJ is doing some investigating – and would be more than eager to find reasons to indict some of the individuals around Trump. Such indictments could come before the November election but could not be adjudicated until after.
Letting the political process go first is a great partisan play. Hit Republican leaders with ugly sounding accusations during the campaign and then let the chips fall where they may afterward. Acquittals would not matter because the intended damage to the GOP will have been done.
There is a tradition that the DOJ does NOT announce political indictments – or even give out information about the cases – during the election season. One can expect that getting out speculative negative information against the GOP would be in the form of leaks. In fact, such information does not even have to be true – as we saw with Congressman Adam Schiff’s grotesque lie about having seen proof of the Trump campaign’s conspiring with Russian meddling in the 2020 election.
It is also at least possible that Garland will not honor the tradition and will issue strategically timed indictments – or announce the launching of investigations against specific people – during the campaigns. Garland may exclude announcing indictments against candidates, arguing that the policy of avoiding the campaign season only applies to the investigation of candidates. That would still enable Democrats to proffer speculative accusations against others through their wholly-owned media pundits.
There is no doubt that Garland has more than one opportunity to get his revenge on the GOP for denying him what would have been the capstone of his judicial career – with a lifelong hold on the position. Being Attorney General is impressive, but no comparison. He could be relegated to the obscurity of total retirement in less than three years. I do not blame the guy if he is bitter. The weeks ahead will tell us just how bitter Garland may be.
So, there ‘tis.