Politics live updates: Garland says he hasn't discussed Hunter Biden investigation with president

Written by on February 22, 2021

Merrick Garland informed senators Monday at his affirmation listening to to turn into legal professional basic that he would help any laws that encourages extra voters to solid ballots in elections.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., requested about approving a brand new Voting Rights Act to stop a rising scourge of voter suppression. Garland stated he was unfamiliar with the specifics of proposed laws, however that one-third of eligible voters hadn’t turned out in 2020 regardless of an enormous enhance in voting final yr.

“Any laws that can encourage extra voting, I strongly help,” Garland stated.

He stated a portion of election legislation prevents interference with voting practices and procedures. He stated the division has different instruments to guard the precise to vote.

— Bart Jansen

Legislation enforcement officers to testify Tuesday earlier than Senate panel

High Capitol legislation enforcement officers have been set to testify Tuesday earlier than key Senate panels after being invited to testify, a Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee aide not approved to talk on the report stated. 

Tuesday’s listening to earlier than the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Guidelines and Administration Committee could be among the first public testimony from prime Capitol legislation enforcement officers as lawmakers probed the buildup to the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol and the following response. 

The 4 officers are: 

  • Appearing Metropolitan Police Division Chief Robert Contee 
  • Former U.S. Capitol Police chief Steven Sund 
  • Former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger
  • Former Home Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. 

Sund, Stenger, and Irving all resigned within the aftermath of the Jan. 6 assault. 

Lawmakers are set to ask questions on failures in preparation by legislation enforcement. Officers have been overwhelmed by rioters on Jan. 6 regardless of intelligence suggesting protests might flip violent, and the Capitol Police Union has faulted their management for inadequate preparation and gear for officers. 

— Nicholas Wu

Garland helps top-level approval of subpoenas for journalists

Merrick Garland informed the Senate Judiciary Committee at his affirmation listening to to turn into legal professional basic that he would uphold a coverage to personally approve any subpoenas issued to reporters.

Garland stated he labored on the coverage within the aftermath of the Watergate investigation practically 50 years in the past. 

“That is one thing I’m deeply dedicated to,” Garland informed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., whose father was a journalist. “I’d anticipate to reup these tips.”

— Bart Jansen

Senate Republicans categorical help for Garland

Key Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee signaled their early help Monday for legal professional basic nominee Merrick Garland, describing him as “ decide” for the job.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the rating Republican; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the committee’s former chairman, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn appeared to favor the nominee.

Cornyn stated his consideration of Garland’s nomination rested on a promise that the choose wouldn’t tolerate political interference.

“I’d not have taken this job if politics had any affect over prosecutions,” Garland stated, including that he would “resign” if he was pressured to do in any other case.

— Kevin Johnson


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Garland: Overseas terror ‘prime of thoughts’

Lawyer Common nominee Merrick Garland stated Monday the prospect for overseas terrorist assault stays a prime precedence, notably on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults.

Garland informed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., he didn’t know whether or not Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State would try an assault. However Garland stated that he was arriving at his workplace when the primary aircraft hit the World Commerce Middle and will see from his workplace the smoke rising on the Pentagon.

“Of all the opposite issues that the Justice Division has to do, it should all the time maintain its eye on the ball with respect to overseas terrorist assault,” Garland stated. “I can guarantee you that is prime of thoughts for me.”

— Bart Jansen

Garland: Biden has pledged no DOJ interference

Lawyer basic nominee Merrick Garland stated that President Joe Biden has pledged that he wouldn’t intervene in Justice Division investigations, indicating that he anticipated the division would stay free from partisan political interference.

Garland pledged that Justice investigation would proceed “with out regard for partisanship” or the political affect of topics of these investigations.

“I’m a robust believer in following the processes of the division,” Garland stated, including that he “revered” the authority of the division’s inspector basic to research attainable misconduct. 

— Kevin Johnson

Garland calls Capitol assault ‘most heinous’ assault on democracy

Lawyer Common nominee Merrick Garland Monday referred to as the Capitol assault the “most heinous” assault on American democracy.

As one among his first acts, if confirmed, Garland stated he would meet with prosecutors and pledge to supply all of the sources essential to push the inquiry ahead.

“This was probably the most heinous assault on democratic processes I’ve ever seen,” Garland informed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Garland stated he would urge investigators to look at “extra broadly” the origins of the assault and decide the danger of future assaults. 

— Kevin Johnson

Garland: No discuss with Biden about son’s investigation

Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee to turn into legal professional basic, informed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that he hasn’t mentioned a pending federal investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden.

“I’ve not,” Garland stated. “The president made abundantly clear in each public assertion earlier than and after my nomination that choices about investigations and prosecutions will probably be left to the Justice Division.”

Hunter Biden introduced in December that the U.S. legal professional in Delaware was investigating his taxes. Republicans have questioned his enterprise dealings in Ukraine and China, however the president has stood behind his son.

— Bart Jansen

Garland: ‘No purpose’ to query standing of Russia counsel Durham

Lawyer basic nominee Merrick Garland informed lawmakers that he had “no purpose” to query the standing of the particular prosecutor main a unbroken investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation.

If confirmed, Garland stated he meant to fulfill with prosecutor John Durham, who was appointed by former Lawyer Common William Barr. 

The Biden administration has pledged to permit Durham to finish the investigation.

— Kevin Johnson

‘Extra harmful’ time than Oklahoma Metropolis, Garland says

Lawyer basic nominee Merrick Garland stated the nation faces a “extra harmful interval” than the forces that sparked the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing, which nonetheless stands as probably the most lethal home terror assault in U.S. historical past.

Garland, who oversaw the prosecution of Oklahoma Metropolis bomber Timothy McVeigh and co-conspirator Terry Nichols, vowed to steer the now far-reaching investigation into the lethal Capitol assault, which left 5 lifeless. 

— Kevin Johnson

Padilla to ask Garland about voting rights

Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, a former legal professional basic of California, informed reporters Monday that Merrick Garland brings “spectacular credentials” to turn into legal professional basic, however that he needed to ask about defending civil rights and voting rights.

“I’m pleased with the work that was performed in California to construct a really inclusive democracy and accessible democracy,” Padilla stated. “I am additionally reminded that, look, the voter suppression is rooted in white supremacy.”

— Bart Jansen

Garland: Function of AG is to ‘serve the rule of legislation and guarantee equal justice’

Lawyer basic nominee Merrick Garland on Monday referred to as for a restoration of Justice Division “norms” as guardrails in opposition to the affect of partisan politics which have threatened the company’s independence from the White Home.

Garland, testifying at his affirmation listening to earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee, additionally vowed to pursue equal justice for marginalized communities of shade whereas main a battle in opposition to extremism that broke into the open throughout final month’s lethal Capitol assault.

“The president nominates the legal professional basic to be the lawyer – not for any particular person, however for the individuals of america,” Garland informed the panel. “It’s a becoming time to reaffirm that the function of the legal professional basic is to serve the rule of legislation and

to make sure equal justice beneath the legislation.”

Garland, a former prime Justice official who final served in that division in the course of the Clinton administration, stated he would reaffirm a bunch of requirements together with people who “strictly regulate communications with the White Home.”

President Joe Biden has described his collection of Garland, now a federal appeals courtroom choose, as an try to show the web page at a division roiled by politics and efforts by former President Donald Trump to make use of the establishment to advance his political pursuits.

— Kevin Johnson

Grassley unapologetic about blocking Garland from Supreme Court docket

The highest Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley, stated Monday at Merrick Garland’s affirmation listening to to turn into legal professional basic that he was unapologetic about refusing to carry a listening to on Garland’s 2016 nomination to affix the Supreme Court docket.

Former President Barack Obama nominated Garland after the dying of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. However Republicans who managed the Senate refused to think about the nomination throughout an election yr.

“As you’ll recall, it was an election yr with a divided Congress,” stated Grassley, who stated the choice was per Democratic statements.

Democrats, together with President Joe Biden, railed in opposition to the stonewall. However the emptiness was ultimately crammed by former President Donald Trump with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Grassley stated he admired Garland’s public service, as a longtime prosecutor and federal appeals courtroom choose. However Grassley alluded to the contentious affirmation listening to for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Sure, it’s true I didn’t give Decide Garland a listening to,” Grassley stated. “I additionally didn’t mischaracterize his report. I didn’t assault his character. I didn’t undergo his highschool yearbook. I didn’t make his spouse depart the listening to in tears. I took a place and caught to it. That’s it.”

— Bart Jansen

Grassley: Garland ‘ decide for this job’

Signaling that legal professional basic nominee Merrick Garland is prone to win bipartisan help, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee’s rating Republican, referred to as the federal appeals courtroom choose “ decide for this job.”

“Nobody doubts that Decide Garland is certified” to steer the Justice Division, Grassley stated.

— Kevin Johnson

Garland to have ‘solemn accountability’ to steer Capitol inquiry

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin stated legal professional basic nominee Merrick Garland, if confirmed, faces a “solemn accountability” to steer a now far-reaching investigation of the lethal Capitol assault. 

“ what it’s prefer to confront the specter of home terrorism,” Durbin stated, recalling Garland’s previous oversight of home terror investigations. “You led the investigation and prosecution of the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing and, in doing so, helped make this nation safer and produce some measure of peace and therapeutic to the victims and their households.

“I’m assured, given this prior expertise, that you’re as much as the duty that the Division now faces within the wake of January sixth. In actual fact, I can consider nobody higher suited. I look ahead to the listening to,” he stated.

— Kevin Johnson


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Durbin: Nation seems to Garland to revive Justice Division’s independence

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin on Monday solid legal professional basic nominee Merrick Garland because the individual to “meet the second” to steer a Justice Division dominated by “brute political forces” of the Trump administration.

In a stark opening assertion at Garland’s affirmation listening to, Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, stated the nation “seems to you” to revive division independence.

“Decide Garland, do you have to be confirmed — and I’ve each confidence that you’ll be — you’ll oversee a Justice Division in an existential second,” Durbin stated. “After 4 tumultuous years of intrigue, controversy, and brute political forces, the longer term course of the Division is clearly in transition.

“Below Lawyer Common Jeff Classes and his successor, Invoice Barr, the Justice Division turned an arm of the White Home, dedicated to advancing the pursuits of President Trump, his household, and his political allies,” he stated.

— Kevin Johnson

Blumenthal seeks crackdown on violent extremism

Sen. Richard Blumenthal informed reporters earlier than Merrick Garland’s affirmation listening to that he anticipated the appeals-court choose to revive integrity on the Justice Division, if confirmed as legal professional basic.

“Merrick Garland will deliver a luster of integrity and customary sense to the Division of Justice, which has been missing for the previous 4 years,” stated Blumenthal, D-Conn. “I am hoping what we’ll see is a dedication to crack down on violent extremism and on racial injustice.”

— Bart Jansen

Durbin expects Garland affirmation

Sen. Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated Monday he anticipated Merrick Garland to be confirmed as the following legal professional basic, however first the panel scheduled a two-day listening to on his nomination.

“He has an enormous job to do,” Durbin, D-In poor health., informed reporters earlier than the listening to. “First, he should restore the morale and the integrity of the Division of Justice. He’s the person for the job.”

When requested about how Garland would deal with lingering investigations from the Trump administration, Durbin stated he trusted the judgment of the federal appeals choose.

“There are numerous individuals who need him to have interaction in a political agenda I believe that won’t be his precedence,” Durbin stated. “His precedence is first the investigation on the January 6 mob invasion of this Capitol. And secondly, actually transferring us ahead as a nation to revive the values the division of Justice all the time stood for.”

— Bart Jansen

Lawyer basic nominee Merrick Garland Senate affirmation listening to opens

President Joe Biden’s nominee to go the Justice Division, U.S. Circuit Court docket Decide Merrick Garland, started his affirmation hearings Monday earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

In his prepared opening statement, Garland vows to “shield the independence of the division from partisan affect” after 4 years through which critics assailed President Donald Trump for recurrently venting his opinions on ongoing investigations, notably ones involving himself and his allies. 

Garland additionally pledges to prosecute the “white supremacists and others” who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in what he calls “a heinous assault that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy.” And, arguing “we don’t but have equal justice,” Garland guarantees in his assertion to proceed the Civil Rights Division’s mission to guard the rights of the “most weak members of our society.”

Although his eventual affirmation is anticipated, Biden’s nominee will doubtless face questions on how he would keep the DOJ’s independence amid lingering questions over Trump’s alleged function in inciting the Jan. 6 riot, an ongoing federal tax investigation involving the president’s son Hunter Biden and the pending inquiry into the origins of the Russian investigation led by Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham.

– William Cummings and Kevin Johnson

Dominion Voting to sue MyPillow Inc. CEO Mike Lindell

Dominion Voting Methods has sued MyPillow Inc. CEO Mike Lindell, alleging $1.2 billion in damages to its model for defamatory feedback Lindell repeatedly made concerning the agency.

The grievance accuses Lindell of perpetuating a “Massive Lie” about Dominion’s function within the 2020 presidential election, together with that he knowingly unfold false details about how Dominion’s voting machines conduct audits, investments from overseas international locations and its presence in U.S. voting programs.

Lindell “knowingly lied about Dominion to promote extra pillows to individuals who continued tuning in to listen to what they needed to listen to concerning the election,” the grievance alleges.

Extra: MyPillow Twitter account permanently suspended following Trump ally CEO Mike Lindell’s ban from platform

After Dominion first indicated it would sue him, Lindell amplified his allegations in opposition to the corporate in a documentary he revealed concerning the firm, amplifying a number of items of misinformation.

“As a substitute of retracting his lies, Lindell — a multimillionaire with a virtually limitless capacity to broadcast his most popular messages on conservative media — whined that he was being ‘censored’ and ‘attacked’ and produced a ‘docu-movie’ that includes shady characters and pretend paperwork sourced from darkish corners of the web,” the grievance reads.

Conspiracy theories about Dominion and different election safety corporations circulated extensively within the aftermath of the 2020 election. Dominion joins voting programs agency Smartmatic, which not too long ago filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit in opposition to Fox Information, in taking authorized motion in opposition to main right-wing media personalities for spreading misinformation concerning the 2020 election.

— Matthew Brown


Merrick Garland, Biden’s legal professional basic decide, has a protracted historical past with the Justice Division. Listed below are three issues to learn about Decide Garland. USA TODAY

Sen. Susan Collins declares her opposition to OMB nominee Neera Tanden

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced Monday morning that she is not going to vote to verify President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Workplace of Administration and Funds, Neera Tanden.

“Neera Tanden has neither the expertise nor the temperament to steer this important company. Her previous actions have demonstrated precisely the type of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend,” Collins stated in an announcement. 

Tanden, a veteran of Democratic politics who most not too long ago served because the president of the Middle for American Progress, a liberal assume tank, has come beneath hearth within the affirmation course of for her previous tweets criticizing Republicans and a few progressive Democrats.

Extra: Why Biden is standing firm on budget pick Neera Tanden despite pushback from left and right

As an example, Tanden has referred to as Collins “the worst,” “a faux defender of Roe v. Wade” and accused her of “flat out deception” for her vote to verify Supreme Court docket Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I didn’t know her – a lot about her – however I’ve heard that she’s a really prolific person of Twitter,” Collins informed reporters in November.

Biden wants at the least one Republican to vote in Tanden’s favor for his nominee to be confirmed after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced last week that he could be voting in opposition to her. 

– Matthew Brown

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