Merrick Garland Calls GOP Attacks Over Trump Verdict A ‘Conspiracy Theory’

WASHINGTON ― Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday called out Republicans for making stuff up about former President Donald Trump’s legal predicament.

In written testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Garland complained of “false claims that a jury verdict in a state trial, brought by a local District Attorney, was somehow controlled by the Justice Department.”

Trump and Republicans like House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) have suggested President Joe Biden was somehow behind Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s charges against Trump for falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments.

Johnson described Trump’s guilty verdict in Manhattan as “further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents.”

“That conspiracy theory is an attack on the judicial process itself,” Garland said in his opening statement.

The Justice Department is pursuing separate charges against Trump for hoarding classified documents after his presidency and attempting to overthrow his 2020 election loss.

Garland’s testimony comes as House Republicans move toward holding him in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over audio of Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur. The Justice Department made the transcript public, but Republicans want the recording in order because, as House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has claimed, a cabal of government insiders may have falsified the transcript in order to protect Biden.

Hur declined to prosecute Biden for allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the vice presidency, partly because he said Biden would come off to a jury as “an elderly man with a poor memory.” The transcript showed Biden’s aides helping him put major events of his own life in chronological order.

Garland said Republicans want the audio for “no legitimate purpose” and that making it public “could harm the integrity of future investigations.”

If the House voted to approve the contempt of Congress resolution against Garland, it would likely be a symbolic vote, since such resolutions typically result in referrals to the Justice Department for prosecution, and Garland would probably not prosecute himself.

Garland said he viewed contempt as serious but had to stand up for the Justice Department.

“I will not be intimidated. And the Justice Department will not be intimidated,” he said. “We will continue to do our jobs free from political influence. And we will not back down from defending our democracy.”

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