Merrick Garland to face DOJ oversight grilling for first time from new Congress
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is to be grilled for the first time by the new 118th Congress.
Garland is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday titled, "Oversight of the Department of Justice." Few details have been revealed, but The Hill reported the hearing will likely feature questions about probes into President Biden and former President Trump.
The Justice Department is handling investigations into Biden, Trump and Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence following the FBI’s discovery of classified documents at all three of their homes or offices.
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After Trump’s announcement of a 2024 re-election bid, and amid speculation over whether Biden, 80, will run for a second consecutive term, Garland appointed separate special counsels to handle their probes. Special counsel Jack Smith is handling investigations into Trump over the classified documents as well as the former president’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The DOJ claims Pence and Biden are cooperating with its probes, while Trump allegedly is not.
Senate Intelligence Committee members have expressed frustration with the Biden administration for not briefing them on the seized documents or providing a damage assessment of the materials found. The administration argued they do not want to jeopardize the special counsel probes.
Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Thursday on Biden’s nomination of Charnelle Bjelkengren to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington. During her confirmation hearing last month, Bjelkengren, of the Spokane County Superior Court, said she could not answer basic questions regarding knowledge of the U.S. Constitution when asked by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.
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"Is this the caliber of legal expert with which President Biden is filling the federal bench?" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked on the Senate floor of the Biden nominee. "For lifetime appointments? Is the bar for merit and excellence really set this low?"