Garland says “no one” has told him to indict Trump

 

▶ Watch Video: Merrick Garland questioned on Hunter Biden investigation, says he’s not president’s lawyer

Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress Wednesday that “no one” has told him to indict former President Donald Trump, after Trump claimed in an interview that President Biden told Garland to indict him.

Garland, testifying before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee for the first time since special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump in two cases this summer, emphasized the independence of both Smith and the Justice Department. Trump, in a “Meet the Press” interview that aired Sunday, claimed that Mr. Biden told Garland to indict Trump.

“Biden indictments. Excuse me, Biden political indictments. He said to the attorney general —” Trump told NBC’s Kristen Welker, who interrupted him. “—he said to the attorney general, ‘Indict him.'”

At Wednesday’s hearing, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff asked Garland if the president of the United States asked him to indict Trump.

“No one has told me to indict,” Garland said. “And in this case, the decision to indict was made by the special counsel.”

In June, Mr. Biden told reporters he had not spoken to Garland as the Justice Department indicted the former president in the documents case, and said he wouldn’t speak to Garland.

Trump faces trials in two federal cases next year, both the results of investigations by Smith. One case involves Trump’s handling of classified documents, and the other, his alleged actions to stay in office after he lost the 2020 presidential election.

Questions about Hunter Biden probe

Garland faced a slew of questions from the panel, led by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, on the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into and charges against Hunter Biden, as well as the Justice Department’s prosecution of the former president. “There is one investigation protecting President Biden, there’s another attacking President Trump,” Jordan claimed.

Garland insisted on the Justice Department’s independence.

“As the president himself has said and I reaffirm today, I am not the president’s lawyer,” Garland said. “I will add, I am not Congress’ prosecutor.”

Jordan suggested that U.S. Attorney David Weiss, appointed to be special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe and nominated years ago by Trump, is favorable to the Bidens. Hunter Biden is expected to plead not guilty to federal gun charges, after a tentative plea deal fell apart in court earlier this summer.

But Garland testified, “No one that I know of has spoken to the White House about the Hunter Biden case.”

Republicans hammered Garland for not offering more information about the Hunter Biden case, to which Garland responded, “I have intentionally not involved myself in the facts of the case, not because I’m trying to get out of a responsibility, but because I’m trying to pursue my responsibility.”

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