AG Garland Defends Federal Law Enforcement Amid Increasing Attacks by Trump, Allies

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: DOJ

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland defended federal law enforcement agencies as Donald Trump and his allies continue to make unfounded claims about the Justice Department and FBI. 

In a sharply worded column in The Washington Post, Garland pointed to the increasing number of threats against federal law enforcement officials and said the agencies won’t be “intimidated by these attacks.”

“But it is absurd and dangerous that public servants, many of whom risk their lives every day, are being threatened for simply doing their jobs and adhering to the principles that have long guided the Justice Department’s work,” Garland wrote.

While Garland didn’t mention Trump by name, he is clearly addressing the threats and conspiracy theories that are inspired by the former president’s false claims about federal law enforcement. Garland said the allegations are unwarranted and harmful. 

“These heinous threats of violence have become routine in an environment in which the Justice Department is under attack like never before,” Garland wrote.

“They are baseless, personal and dangerous.”

Garland repeated the DOJ’s mission to investigate without prejudice or favor. 

“The Justice Department makes decisions about criminal investigations based only on the facts and the law,” he wrote. “We do not investigate people because of their last name, their political affiliation, the size of their bank account, where they come from or what they look like. We investigate and prosecute violations of federal law — nothing more, nothing less.”

Garland said the federal agencies won’t back down because of threats and intimidation. 

“The Justice Department will continue to uphold its obligation under the Constitution to fiercely defend the right of all Americans to peacefully express opinions, beliefs and ideas. Disagreements about politics are good for our democracy,” he wrote. “They are normal.”

“But using conspiracy theories, falsehoods, violence and threats of violence to affect political outcomes is not normal. The short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country,” he continued.

Trump has increasingly suggested he will seek revenge against federal law enforcement agencies after he was charged with numerous crimes. His former adviser, Steve Bannon, even suggested that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe should “leave the country” because Trump, if elected, is going to ensure he is arrested.

In an interview with CNN, McCabe said the intelligence community is worried that Trump will seek retribution against his political enemies.  

Last week, Trump repeatedly said he may seek revenge if he’s reelected. 

Garland called on the spurious accusations to end. 

“Continued unfounded attacks against the Justice Department’s employees are dangerous for people’s safety,” Garland wrote. “They are dangerous for our democracy. This must stop.”

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