Wednesday 5 June 2024

Garland Pushed To Provide ‘All Correspondence’ Between DOJ And Trump Prosecutors

 Merrick Garland, attorney general at the Department of Justice, would not commit to providing lawmakers with any and all communications between his department and prosecutors’ offices that have pursued cases against former president Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Garland visited Capitol Hill to testify as part of an oversight hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida grilled the attorney general on his department’s relationship with a variety of local prosecutors’ offices that have either sued or charged Trump in recent months.

One of those cases resulted in an unprecedented ruling last week. A New York City jury sided with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, finding Trump guilty of 34 felony counts, the first time in American history a current or former U.S. president has been found guilty of a crime.

Naming Bragg’s office alongside that of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and New York Attorney General Letitia James in New York, Gaetz asked Garland if he would commit to “provide to the committee all documents, all correspondence between the department and” the local and state prosecutors.

Pressed repeatedly, Garland responded that the DOJ does “not control those offices. They make their own decisions.” 

“If you make a request, we will refer it to our office of legislative affairs. They will respond appropriately,” Garland later offered.

Either agree to turn over any documents and communications between the DOJ and local prosecutors or stop alleging that the accusation of a targeted legal campaign against Trump is a conspiracy theory, Gaetz told Garland.

“If it’s a conspiracy theory that will be evident” with the documents, Gaetz said. “But when you say, ‘Well, we’ll take your request and then we’ll sort of work it through the DOJ’s accommodation process,’ then you’re actually advancing the very dangerous conspiracy theory that you’re concerned about.”

The Florida lawmaker also pressed Garland on Matthew Colangelo, who served as the third-ranking official in the Biden Justice Department before joining Bragg’s team of prosecutors in the case against Trump in Manhattan. Garland said he had no knowledge of why Colangelo joined Bragg’s team.

“I did not dispatch Mr. Colangelo anywhere,” Garland answered to accusations from Gaetz. “I assume he applied for a job there and got the job. I tell you I had nothing to do with it.”

Before joining Biden’s DOJ, Colangelo worked for a stint in Democratic Party circles, earning $12,000 from the Democratic National Committee in January 2018 for “political consulting.” Colangelo later joined the DOJ as one of Garland’s top deputies before joining Bragg’s office as the senior counsel in the criminal case against Trump.

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