Garland Was Pressured to Appoint a Special Counsel in Biden’s Case: Merrick Garland ultimately had little choice but to act. A senior Justice official referred to the attorney general’s choice to appoint a special counsel to look into the handling of sensitive papers discovered at President Joe Biden’s former office and Delaware home as a “textbook” example necessitating such a move.
Garland took the initiative to secretly assign Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch, Jr., a surviving member of the Trump administration, a preliminary assessment while considering the situation. Lausch ultimately advised the attorney general to adopt the decision made public on Thursday.
Legal experts claimed that if Garland had disregarded that advice, it would have plunged the Justice Department and Garland into a firestorm that the attorney general has long sought to avoid as he works to end the turbulent period in which President Donald Trump repeatedly tried to sway the department to his political ends.
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Garland hires a special prosecutor Robert Hur: To look into Biden’s sensitive documents, Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel. Norm Eisen, a former Obama White House counsel on ethics and government reform, described these decisions as excruciating because you never know how they will play out. Given the facts of the case and Lausch’s suggestion, Garland’s judgment “was well within the range of reason… It was a sensible decision that had to happen.
The appointment of Rober Hur, a Trump-nominated U.S. attorney, to oversee the Biden documents investigation, according to Andrew Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor who assisted special counsel Robert Mueller in managing his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, “factored” into the attorney general’s attempt to further shield Justice from politics. Weissmann stated that one of the additional advantages of this (the appointment) is the appearance of absolute fairness.
separating Trump from Biden
Garland’s most recent appointment comes less than two months after Trump hired veteran prosecutor Jack Smith to look into his decision to keep hundreds of top-secret documents at his Florida estate after leaving office in 2021 and his involvement in the effort to prevent the election of Biden as vice president.
Even while there are obvious distinctions between the two document situations, which are underscored by Trump’s repeated reluctance to abide by requests for the records’ return, observers noted that the perception of a double standard probably had a significant impact on the attorney general’s choice.
In the Trump instance, Garland’s choice to nominate Smith was partially motivated by the former president’s recently declared bid for reelection, a race that might be a repeat of the one he had in 2020 against his current boss, the president.
In November, Garland stated, “I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well.
Weissmann stated that there was “greater rationale” to appoint a separate special counsel because Biden was at the center of the new document probe.
Weissmann stated, “He didn’t have to designate a special counsel in any case. But I believe he used caution in the Biden case appropriately. Your own executive branch is under investigation by you. However, not everyone agrees that the Biden document inquiry needed to be taken over by a special counsel.
A fundamental requirement for such an appointment, according to Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration, had not been met.
In a column for the Los Angeles Times, Litman noted that the Justice Department’s regulations stipulate that a special counsel should only be appointed “when the attorney general determines that a criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted” and that the investigation “would present a conflict of interest for the department, or other extraordinary circumstances.”
There is simply no legal justification to infer that a criminal investigation is necessary based on what is known at this time, and it’s possible that the Justice Department’s preliminary investigation uncovered facts about the Biden documents that have not yet been revealed. Nothing in our knowledge even remotely implies that Biden willfully broke the law.
In response to the discovery of the first set of documents seized in November at a former Washington, D.C. office, Biden said earlier this week that he was unaware of their contents. The White House has claimed that the records were “inadvertently misplaced.”
Biden earlier this week told reporters, “People know I take secret materials, classified information, seriously. “I was genuinely aback to learn that any official records were brought to that office. Then, Biden stated, “We are collaborating fully – participating fully – with the review, which I hope will be completed soon. Hur’s nomination by Garland, however, almost guarantees that Biden’s goal for a speedy resolution is not likely to come to pass.
Former Obama administration Justice official Matthew Miller claimed Garland’s decision to name a special counsel in the Trump case and cite a potential conflict of interest likely constrained his options when considering the Biden case. Miller observed, “He kind of walled himself in.”