It’s not often that you hear a sitting US Attorney General confirm his television viewing schedule.
It’s even less often when the AG announces that he’ll be watching such must-not-see TV as the January 6 Select Committee hearings, which have bombed in the ratings. But this is what AG Merrick Garland has done, pledging to watch the January 6 Committee show trials, apparently to gather evidence for potential prosecutions.
This begs the question—doesn’t the Department of Justice have the resources to conduct its own investigations? On “Sunday Night in America,” Fox News host Trey Gowdy asked that very question, wondering why the AG is outsourcing his own investigative prerogatives to the slapdash January 6 Committee and its rogue’s gallery of partisan politicos.
“Nothing wrong with watching television,” Gowdy observed, reasonably, “there’s lots of good stuff on lately…I’ve been watching a lot of television myself. But I guess the difference is, you and I don’t have much of a choice when it comes to getting information. We don’t get to have an army of investigators and prosecutors at our disposal; Merrick Garland does. He has federal law enforcement at his beck and call. He has scores of prosecutors, he has access to a grand jury and search warrants, and he can apply for different forms of surveillance, he can access financial records and phone records, he can seize computers and email accounts, if done lawfully. He can compel witnesses to testify, he can offer immunity or limited prosecution agreements to anyone he wants.”
“So why is he watching television?” Gowdy wondered. “Why does the chief prosecutor, the managing partner of the most powerful law firm in the world, need to watch television to gather facts? He can interview any of the witnesses he wants to interview. He can gather whatever evidence he thinks is relevant.”
Perhaps Merrick Garland and the DOJ wish to avoid the appearance of being overly politicized—though the cat’s been long out of the bag on that one. After all, news that the Justice Department was investigating irate parents didn’t exactly do much to dispel the conviction among many Americans that the DOJ had become little more than the Democratic Party’s enforcers.
“If you want to know what Bill Barr knows,” Gowdy continued, “why don’t you ask him yourself? If you want to know what Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards observed or experienced, why don’t you ask her yourself? If you want to access all the video footage of the attack on the Capitol, why not go get the raw, unedited film for yourself?
“Congress has next to no investigative power—no real power. Remember, even Congress, when it tries to hold a witness in contempt, it has to rely on—guess who?—the Department of Justice to enforce or prosecute that contempt. There is no comparison between the power of the Department of Justice versus the power of Congress, and yet the attorney general is not only watching TV, the department is miffed that Congress will not share what it has with the Department.”
Gowdy certainly didn’t hold back on his criticism of the Attorney General. With all the power and tools at the DOJ’s disposal, it seems suspicious to say the least that Garland has outsourced his investigation to Congress, a manifestly political institution. As Gowdy sees it, the Department of Justice needs to divorce itself from Capitol Hill and spend more time cultivating the impartial mission it was founded to pursue.
“It does make you wonder what the department has been doing for the past 18 months,” Gowdy concluded. “If you want to know what happened, find and examine witnesses and evidence. The remote control ain’t going to help you.”
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