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Politics - News Analysis

Merrick Garland Under Fire by Many Angry Americans, Including His Former Harvard Law Professor

This could come back to bite him.

The recently released report on President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents by DOJ special counsel Robert Hur has caused more than a little uproar. That’s with good reason.

It’s angered conservatives in that Hur elected not to charge Biden with any crime. Hur noted in his report that Biden had cooperated with the investigation, and that the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

But the report also angered Biden supporters because Hur went on to characterize the President as “a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

It’s this part, in fact, that irked Laurence Tribe, the professor emeritus of constitutional law at Harvard — and Merrick Garland’s former professor.

Garland appointed Robert Hur as special counsel in the investigation so as to appear non-partisan; Hur was appointed by Trump as Maryland’s District Attorney back in 2018. Garland figured by hiring a Trump appointee, there would be no appearance of favoritism.

But the extra characterization of the President looks pretty political. There really was no need to elaborate, especially since it wasn’t part of why he elected not to charge Biden with any crime. It was simply an opinion that was irrelevant to the case, and seemingly partisan in nature.

On X, formerly Twitter, Professor Tribe said “I’ve long respected my friend and former student Merrick Garland but he has bent too far backwards in order to avoid seeming pro-Biden.”

Indeed, the offhand comment from Hur already prompted an angry rebuttal of “I know what the hell I’m doing” and “my memory’s fine” from President Biden, and is playing into what was already a Trump campaign strategy — to paint Biden as senile.

Others agreed with Tribe.

Sara Spector, a defense attorney in Texas, tweeted that “Merrick Garland should have redacted Hur’s personal opinions as to Biden’s mental acuity from the report.”

And Robert Shrum, the director of the USC Center for the Political Future, wrote “I have refrained from all the criticism of Merrick Garland. I was wrong. And he was the wrong choice for DOJ. History will not absolve him.”

Unfortunately for Biden, the 3-year age difference between him and Trump seems to matter a little too much.

meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Central Washington, writing with the conviction of 18 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A girlfriend, a dog, two cats, and two birds round out the equation, and in his spare time, Drewbear likes to imagine what it must be like to have spare time.


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