Live updates: Merrick Garland testifies at the House Judiciary Committee’s DOJ hearing

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The House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland is in a short break.

So far, Garland has forcefully rebuked congressional Republicans who have accused the Justice Department of political bias.

“I am not the president’s lawyer,” Garland said in his opening statement. “I will also add that I am not Congress’s prosecutor. The Justice Department works for the American people.”

He said that the Justice Department’s job is “to pursue justice, without fear or favor” and not to “do what is politically convenient” or “take orders from the President, from Congress, or from anyone else about who or what to criminally investigate.”

Garland delivered the statement as he faces vitriol from Republicans, who accuse him of failing to protect the department from politicization, and dissatisfaction from Democrats, who say the department has been too timid in going after former President Donald Trump.

Republicans on the panel have grilled Garland with questions about the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his now-scuttled plea deal, as well as special counsel Jack Smith’s two indictments of Trump.

“The fix is in. Even with the face-saving indictment last week of Hunter Biden, everyone knows the fix is in,” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan said in his opening statement.

Against that backdrop, Garland told lawmakers that the department welcomes “public scrutiny, criticism, and legitimate oversight,” but “singling out individual career public servants who are just doing their jobs is dangerous – particularly at a time of increased threats to the safety of public servants and their families.”

“We will not be intimidated,” Garland said. “We will do our jobs free from outside interference. And we will not back down from defending our democracy.”

Wednesday’s hearing has also offered a preview of the House Republican’s impeachment inquiry into the president – which will have its first hearing next week – and the partisan brawling that will accompany it.

The bulk of the allegations Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Republicans are investigating in the impeachment inquiry relate to Hunter Biden’s business dealings, though Republicans have uncovered no evidence to date that the president personally received any money. The House Judiciary Committee has also been probing allegations from an IRS whistleblower that the Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden was politically tainted.


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