Politics - News Analysis
Rachel Maddow Goes OFF on Merrick Garland for Continuing to Protect Donald Trump
In normal circumstances and a change in normal administrations, the new attorney general continues to pursue cases on the same side in which the case came up. If the previous administration had a Clean Water Act suit going and was prosecuting a company for illegal discharge, even if the new president and attorney general disagreed with the policy, they didn’t change the United States’ position in the lawsuit just because the new administration disagreed.
The case was argued just as it was argued before. In a normal administration, when Trump was inaugurated, the DOJ had a duty to argue to enforce the laws on the books. Under Trump, the DOJ should have been defending the law of the land, including Obamacare.
Trump’s DOJ was an insane and arguably criminal operation where Trump was directing lawsuits from the Oval Office, once considered unthinkable. Donald Trump believed that the A.G. was his Roy Cohn (his personal lawyer) and that he could call over to DOJ and interfere in any case he didn’t like and start ones he wanted.
It was the most corrupt DOJ in history. And yet Marrick Garland has, largely – almost completely, kept it as Trump left it. In other words, it is still acting as Trump’s law firm in many cases as if Trump was a traditional president who didn’t use the DOJ as his personal law firm. Rachel Maddow has noticed and tonight ripped Merrick Garland from head to toe:
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“Under Donald Trump, the U.S. Justice Department was corrupted in multiple cases. Trump didn’t just want to do that. He didn’t just express a desire to do it. Under Bill Barr, he did it because there were Justice Department officials who did it, who went along, who took the calls, who took the instructions, who quashed the stuff that lawmakers wanted lawlessly quashed, who forced the things they wanted lawlessly forced. That can’t stand. The U.S. Justice Department is too important. Its credibility is too irreplaceable.
We could not possibly agree more. Additionally, there are several district judges in Washington who couldn’t agree more and are trying to get information from lawsuits out to the public.
That misbehavior during the Trump era at the U.S. Justice Department has to be cleaned up, has to be found out, ferreted out, punished, cleaned up, and come clean to the American people about it. Or the Justice Department will be used that way again, and again, and again, by the next corrupt president who sees what happened under Bill Barr and the former guy as a legacy of corruption you can build on, and trust me, it will happen. The job of cleaning up a corrupted U.S. Justice Department is a terrible one and a really hard one. But it is a necessity for all the obvious reasons.”
We have written the same thing here, time after time. Biden correctly stated that he would appoint an Attorney General and let that Attorney General handle the legal cases. But the president can also fire the attorney general. Granted, we do not know if the next in line will do any better. The president should not, ever, fire the attorney over any one case, or any six cases. But the president is properly able to fire an attorney general who is not following a presidential emphasis. If Biden were to say “I want drug problems treated more as a medical issue and less a criminal issue,” that is policy and properly done. Biden has every right to say “I wanted the DOJ cleaned up. I wanted it to quit acting as Trump’s firm as a matter of policy.” And then expect it to happen.
Rachel is right, unsurprisingly. The other thing to note is that it wouldn’t take a massive project to overhaul the entire Department of Justice. It would merely take exposing the illegal behavior that went on under Barr and Trump. Trump told the president of Ukraine that Barr would be coming over and to talk with him. That would clearly be an illegal act falling well outside the A.G.’s authority. We aren’t even going to get into the decision to not prosecute Trump or the dozens of conflicts of interest that Barr allowed to be pursued.
It all needs to be exposed. Ideally, it would be prosecuted. Short of that, Garland has a responsibility to reverse the government’s position in the cases in which there was a clear conflict of interest. He also has a responsibility to expose to the public all he finds and at least let history be the judge so that it isn’t allowed again.
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