Garland defends DOJ handling of Biden and Trump document investigations

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a Reproductive Rights Task Force meeting at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Patrick Semansky/G3 Box News

Garland defends DOJ handling of Biden and Trump document investigations

Misty Severi

January 23, 10:43 PM January 23, 10:43 PM

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Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the Department of Justice’s handling of the separate investigations into the classified documents that were allegedly mishandled by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Garland rejected the notion Monday that the department treated the cases differently. Classified documents were found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and classified documents from the Obama administration were found at multiple locations for Biden, including a think tank and his home garage.


“The role of the Justice Department is to apply the facts and the law in each case and reach appropriate decisions in a nonpartisan and neutral way without regard to who the subjects are,” Garland told reporters.

“That is what we’ve done in each of these cases, and that is what we’ll continue to do. We do not have different rules for Democrats or Republicans, different rules for the powerful or the powerless, different rules for the rich or for the poor,” he added.

Separate special counsels are overseeing the inquiries.

Robert Hur is the special counsel handling Biden’s classified document probe. He was appointed by the Justice Department earlier this month. Trump’s investigation is being handled by special counsel Jack Smith.

Garland has faced backlash over the handling of the inquiries despite key differences in the cases that were highlighted by Democrats.

Some of the differences include the number of documents obtained in each discovery — there were hundreds in the case of Trump and about 30 for Biden — and how the documents were discovered and obtained. Biden’s team came forward with their discovery of documents, but Trump’s estate had to be searched by the FBI.

The responses to the discoveries have also been different. Biden and his team have cooperated with the DOJ since notifying them of the documents in November, while the National Archives had unsuccessfully tried to recover hundreds of records from Trump.

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The White House has faced criticism over its lack of transparency. The first classified documents were uncovered at the think tank office in early November, but their discovery was not disclosed to the public until a leak earlier this month.

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