Attorney General Merrick Garland has refuted allegations that two federal cases involving Donald Trump were strategically timed to affect his potential reelection in 2024. Garland clarified this during an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” highlighting the Justice Department’s nonpartisan approach and the independence of its prosecutors.
Garland emphasized that the Justice Department adheres to a general practice of avoiding significant steps or charges within a month or so of an election. He asserted that such practices were not applicable to the current cases against Trump, indicating that prosecutors and special counsel follow the facts and the law independently.
During the interview, correspondent Scott Pelley questioned whether the timing of these cases was intended to harm Trump’s reelection prospects. Garland categorically denied this, stating that Justice Department prosecutors remain nonpartisan and do not allow political considerations to influence their decisions.
The interview covered various issues, reiterating Garland’s commitment to independence from the White House and Congress, emphasizing that he represents the interests of the American people. Garland also addressed allegations of interference in investigations involving both Trump and Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son.
Garland clarified that he has not been involved in discussions with special counsel Jack Smith regarding the Trump cases or special counsel David Weiss regarding the Hunter Biden case. He highlighted Weiss’s appointment as U.S. attorney for Delaware by Trump and his initiation of the Hunter Biden investigation during the Trump administration. Garland assured senators during his confirmation hearing that he would not interfere with Weiss’s investigation.
Regarding the Hunter Biden case, Garland explained that the Justice Department’s policy of refraining from commenting on pending cases is aimed at protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the individuals under investigation, as well as safeguarding witnesses from potential intimidation.
He further elaborated those investigations can take various directions and ultimately result in decisions to charge or not charge a particular matter. If witnesses and potential subjects were aware of all investigative details, it could potentially alter testimony and render witnesses unavailable to law enforcement.
In summary, Attorney General Garland emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to impartiality and adherence to established practices, dispelling allegations of political timing in the ongoing cases related to Donald Trump.