As the Biden classified document scandal continues to unfold, Attorney General Merrick Garland is insisting that the Department of Justice is handling things in a neutral, nonpartisan way.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday defended the Department of Justice against criticisms that the classified documents cases against President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are being treated differently.
Republicans have accused the DOJ of giving special treatment to Biden, who was given a heads-up and allowed to have his lawyers present when he consented to a search of one of his Maryland homes on Friday. That’s in contrast to the surprise raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home where Trump’s lawyers say they were not allowed to observe.
“[W]e do not have different rules for Democrats and Republicans, different rules for the powerful or the powerless, different rules for the rich or for the poor,” said Garland. “We apply the facts and the law in each case in a neutral, non-partisan manner. That is what we always do and that is what we do in the matters that you are referring to.”
Garland: "We do not have different rules for Democrats or Republicans, different rules for the powerful or the powerless, different rules for the rich or the poor." pic.twitter.com/VORzFtful5
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 23, 2023
The “matters” that AG Garland referred to were the investigations into classified documents found in the possession of former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.
It must be very embarrassing for President Biden to have classified documents turn up in multiple locations that span all the way back to his days in the Senate after musing on “60 Minutes” that it is irresponsible to mishandle classified documents and keep them in one’s possession after leaving office.
As for AG Garland’s claim about impartiality — call me skeptical.
The handling of both situations has already been vastly different — Trump’s home was raided and documents that he claims he had declassified were found in one location that had been secured with a second lock that was to the storage area after a request by the DOJ and FBI, while Biden’s lawyers who do not have security clearance were permitted by the DOJ to continue the search for more documents without oversight.
An important note is that as Vice President, Biden did not have the authorization to declassify documents as Trump did as President.
Some may insist that the reason Biden was given some leeway was that his team was “cooperative” and Trump was handled harshly because he was not, but that doesn’t really wash.
All classified documents are to be handled with the utmost care — it’s baffling to some Members of Congress how President Biden was able to remove them from Washington while he was Vice President, let alone the many years he was in the Senate.
The intent of the individual is not even to be considered, although that was the excuse Comey used for Hillary’s classified documents in 2016. Interestingly, intent became irrelevant again when the National Archives were demanding documents from Trump, but now appears to have shifted back to being irrelevant now that it’s Biden who has been in possession of classified documents and kept them in various locations.
But it isn’t just that one issue that has people questioning the FBI and DOJ’s neutrality — there are examples where there is an appearance of some level of bias at play.
As Greg Price points out in the follow-up tweet to the video above, the DOJ is going after a pro-life activist after charges were initially dropped
Meanwhile, the trial of Mark Houck, a Catholic father of 7, begins this week. The DOJ is trying to send him to jail for 11 years because he pushed a Planned Parenthood volunteer who threatened his son.https://t.co/AyQhDlyKfu
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 23, 2023
This is just the beginning. Several pro-life activists have been charged with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances [FACE] Act — a Clinton-era law that protected both pro-life and pro-choice activists and groups to protest outside of facilities.
However, the same aggressive action isn’t being done to pro-choice activists and groups like Jane’s Revenge despite attacks on nearly 100 Catholic Churches and over 75 pro-life facilities since the draft of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision was leaked in May.
FBI reward announcement: https://t.co/KVhciFhvaB
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 19, 2023
The January 6 rioters have been held in deplorable conditions, with a lack of access to healthcare including chemotherapy in at least one case, and most of them are charged with crimes like trespassing.
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protesters who rioted and looted all over the country for months — including in St. John’s Square right in front of the White House — in the wake of the death of George Floyd were given plea deals if they even faced charges.
Many that were arrested were bailed out with crowd-funded bail funds promoted by progressive celebrities and the current Vice President and her staff. The list of donors for that bail fund wasn’t leaked to the public as the lists for the truckers’ protest in Canada and the legal defense fund for Kyle Rittenhouse were.
Miranda Devine revealed the stark contrast last year:
The 2020 BLM riots injured or blinded more than 2,000 police officers, resulted in the deaths of more than two dozen people and property damage worth more than $1 billion, the most expensive in insurance history…
…By contrast, we are supposed to believe that the Jan. 6 Capitol riots were the worst attack on American democracy since the Civil War, worse than 9/11, the president told us, and the rioters must be treated as terrorists on par with ISIS.
Yet, as RealClearInvestigations has found, the 2020 BLM riots resulted in “15 times more injured police officers, 30 times as many arrests, and estimated damages in dollar terms up to 1,300 times more costly than those of the Capitol riot.”
Source: New York Post
Devine notes that “the sentences meted out over both riots also are vastly disproportionate.”
To illustrate this point, two New York attorneys, Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, that tossed Molotov cocktails into a vacant police car during the George Floyd Riots in 2020, were facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for the act, and perhaps up to 30 years with domestic terrorism charges, but were offered a sweet deal to reduce that significantly.
Notably, Rahman and Mattis pleaded guilty last year to one count of possessing and making an explosive device, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Now, however, they will be allowed to withdraw the earlier plea and instead plead guilty to conspiring to assemble the Molotov cocktail and damage the New York Police Department patrol car. That is a nosebleed of a drop in the severity and punishment for this violent attack.
It is a sharp contrast to the harsh position taken by the Biden Justice Department on many of those accused of rioting on January 6th. Attorney General Merrick Garland cited the threat to police officers in pledging an unprecedented effort to charge and convict those involved “on any level” in the riot.
Source: Jonathan Turley
According to the Associated Press, that plea deal was so sweet that Rahman was given just 15 months in prison for firebombing the police vehicle.
Let’s compare that to Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman”, was slapped with a 41-month sentence plus three years of supervised release after 10 months in prison. Chansley was unarmed, committed no violence, and did not damage any property. His crime, apparently, was that he was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a Viking hat and face paint.
The way that the DOJ went after President Trump’s nominee for National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, has contributed to concern on the political right that the federal law enforcement agencies behave in a partisan manner.
Even after it was pretty clear that, to quote Joe Biden, “there was no there there,” the DOJ and Judge Emmett Sullivan continued to pursue charges against Gen. Flynn after withholding exculpatory evidence.
The FBI agents interviewing Gen. Flynn didn’t believe that he had deliberately lied to them, but had simply failed to recall information during questioning.
[Gen. Flynn’s attorney Sidney] Powell and other champions of Flynn’s cause have long claimed he did not lie to investigators — a claim supported by the interviewing FBI agents, who concluded that Flynn had not made intentional misstatements, just failures of recollection, which are common. Instead, they maintain that Flynn was coerced into pleading guilty nearly a year later by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of hyper-aggressive prosecutors. Prosecutors did this, Powell argues, by threatening that if he refused to plead, they would prosecute his son. The son, also named Michael Flynn, worked in Gen. Flynn’s private intelligence firm, which Team Mueller was scrutinizing over its alleged failure to register with the government as a foreign agent — a dubious allegation that was rarely handled as a criminal offense before Mueller’s probe.
Source: The Hill
But they continued to try to find a way to pursue charges against him including a Logan Act violation that Joe Biden himself suggested.
The Justice Department “inadvertently” altered a document it filed in court in its ongoing effort to dismiss charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, prosecutors said Wednesday, attributing it to a wayward “sticky note” that was scanned onto a key piece of evidence department officials have cited in seeking to abandon the case…
…Strzok’s notes indicate that Biden mentioned the Logan Act — a little-used 18th Century law that criminalizes efforts by private citizens to conduct U.S. foreign policy. The FBI internally discussed using the Logan Act as a basis for its decision to interview Flynn a few weeks later as it investigated his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Ultimately, FBI and DOJ officials say the interview was conducted as part of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.
And if that isn’t enough, the cherry on top of the DOJ/Gen. Flynn debacle is that the judge presiding over the case refused to drop the charges against Gen. Flynn even after being ordered to do so and the DOJ dropping charges.
The presiding judge in the case of former national-security adviser Michael Flynn refused to dismiss the case on Thursday, even after a federal appeals court ordered the judge to do so…
…Flynn’s legal team had petitioned the appeals court to force Sullivan to drop the case, after the Justice Department announced it would cease prosecuting Flynn. A three-judge panel on the appeals court agreed that the case should be dropped.
Source: National Review
Judge Emmett Sullivan refuses to roll over on DC Circuit Flynn ruling. Asks for En Banc hearing before the Appellate Court. If denied, it likely ends. If accepted, this could go on for some time. pic.twitter.com/SvEn7kJuWl
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) July 9, 2020
Even when the DOJ decides to drop the charges, the partisan machine grinds on in the courts.
The Attorney General can insist all he wants that there is no “two-tiered justice” in America, but to many Republicans and pro-life advocates, it doesn’t really look like justice is blind.
That’s something that urgently needs to be addressed so that all Americans can have confidence that a powerful arm of the federal government isn’t being used in a partisan way.
1. Gournell, Jack. “Garland Tries to Deflect Stinging Criticisms of DOJ’s Biden Doc Efforts.” Newsmax. January 23, 2023. https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/biden-documents-trump-documents-merrick-garland/2023/01/23/id/1105598/
2. Bliss, Jacob. “Trump: DOJ, FBI Previously Asked for Extra Lock on Document Storage Room They Broke During Raid.” Breitbart. August 10, 2022. https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/08/10/trump-doj-fbi-previously-asked-for-extra-lock-on-document-storage-room-they-broke-during-raid/
3. Richardson, Valerie. “Pro-lifer seeks to dismiss federal charges, accuses DOJ of viewpoint bias.” The Washington Times. December 7, 2022. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/dec/7/mark-houck-pro-life-activist-accuses-doj-viewpoint/
4. Devine, Miranda. “BLM privilege and Jan. 6 Capitol riot shame.” The New York Post. February 20, 2022. https://nypost.com/2022/02/20/blm-privilege-jan-6-ignominy/
5. Turley, Jonathan. “New York Attorneys Accused of Firebombing Police Car Given Generous Plea Deal.” Jonathan Turley blog. June 5, 2022. https://jonathanturley.org/2022/06/05/new-york-attorneys-accused-of-firebombing-police-car-given-generous-plea-deal/
6. Hays, Tom. “Lawyer gets 15 months behind bars for firebombing police car.” Associated Press. November 18, 2022. https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/lawyer-15-months-bars-firebombing-police-car-93572068
7. McCarthy, Andrew C. “Something seems rotten in Flynn’s case — and maybe others, too.” The Hill. April 30, 2020. https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/495366-something-seems-rotten-in-flynns-case-and-maybe-others-too/
8. Evans, Zachary. “Flynn Judge Refuses to Dismiss Case, Petitions for Additional Hearing.” National Review. July 9, 2020. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/flynn-judge-refuses-to-dismiss-case-petitions-for-additional-hearing/
9. Cheney, Kyle. “Justice Department acknowledges ‘inadvertently’ altering Flynn document with sticky note.” Politico. October 7, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/07/doj-altered-flynn-document-427280