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Merrick Garland Will Not Deliver Your Catharsis


Platinum Member
Sep 30, 2011
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Merrick Garland, now more than four months into the job of attorney general, is on a quest to slay a monster — a monster that he won’t name and he pretends doesn’t exist. On March 11, his first day, he stood in the Great Hall of Justice Department headquarters and addressed the agency’s 115,000 employees, most watching virtually. It was a homecoming of sorts for Garland, 68, who started at the department as a 26-year-old lawyer in 1979, rising to lead major investigations including the Unabomber case and the Oklahoma City bombing prosecution in the 1990s before spending the past two decades-plus as an esteemed federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “The only way we can succeed and retain the trust of the American people is to adhere to the norms that have become part of the DNA of every Justice Department employee,” he said in his first speech as attorney general. “Those norms require that like cases be treated alike. That there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, one rule for friends and another for foes, one rule for the powerful and another for the powerless.”

What he didn’t say — what he never says publicly — is that there are good reasons the department might have lost the trust of the American people in the past four years. During President Donald Trump’s administration, there wasn’t always one rule of law for all, as when presidential friends Roger Stone and Michael Flynn had their prosecutions massaged and softened; or when former attorney general Bill Barr launched an outside investigation of the investigators to see if Trump was unfairly targeted in the Russia probe; or when Barr spun findings by the special counsel and the inspector general in ways most advantageous to Trump; or when Barr changed procedures so U.S. attorneys could dive into Trump’s false claims about election results before the vote tallies were certified.

But when Garland is asked about questionable actions that took place at the Justice Department during the previous administration, he offers a version of a response that he gave during a Q&A session with reporters in June: “I am not going to look backward.”

This is deeply unsatisfying to Democrats, government watchdogs and anyone who wants catharsis after four years of Trump’s insistence on his “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” as he put it to the New York Times in 2017. Those voices are calling for investigations of the politicization of the department under Trump, a public reckoning of the damage done, the spectacle of heads rolling. They speak of “truth commissions” and “de-Trumpification.” That is how you restore confidence in the institution, they say.

And in typical WaPo fashion there is a fair amount of "what he didn't say-what he never says publicly" bullshittery as if the the author knows the private thoughts of another. If you can overlook this without upchucking it's an ok-ish article.


Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2017
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Obama politicized the DOJ, FBI, IRS and the Military

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