Commentary: Fact-Checking Merrick Garland’s ‘Fair’ DOJ

It might go down as the whopper of the year.

During his opening statement to the House Judiciary committee on Wednesday morning, Attorney General Merrick Garland attempted to head off expected criticism from Republicans by insisting his Department of Justice is blind to politics. “[We] apply the same laws to everyone. There is not one set of laws for the powerful and one for the powerless. One for the rich and another for the poor. One for Democrats and another one for Republicans. The law will treat each of us alike.”

Garland’s unsolicited salvo, however, did nothing to protect him from incoming fire. For hours, Republicans mercilessly drilled the country’s top lawman for numerous politically charged scandals, specifically the investigations into Hunter Biden and those involved in the events of January 6.

There is no question the handling of the Hunter Biden matter—which included a sweetheart plea offer, direct communication between Biden’s legal team and a top DOJ official, Biden-appointed prosecutors refusing to bring charges, and delayed appointment of a special counsel resulting in a low-level gun charge among other chicanery—singularly refutes Garland’s claims. (A helpful timeline can be found here.)

But it is DOJ’s ongoing criminal prosecution of individuals who protested at the U.S. Capitol nearly 33 months ago that immediately renders Garland’s self-serving soliloquy a load of hot garbage. Never before has a four-hour civil disturbance, let alone any political protest, involved the amount of manpower, investigative resources, and funding—from both local and federal law enforcement agencies—that DOJ has devoted to the Capitol protest. A recent update by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the office handling each case, gave the tale of the tape so far.

As of September 6, more than 1,146 individuals have been arrested for their participation in January 6, mostly on misdemeanors. Roughly half of those defendants accepted plea deals; 113 were found guilty after a trial before a D.C. jury. “[The] investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the attack continues to move forward at an unprecedented speed and scale,” Biden-appointee Matthew Graves warned. (Recall Graves is one of two Biden-appointed U.S. Attorneys who declined to charge Hunter Biden for tax crimes.)

At least 16 individuals, including agent provocateur Ray Epps, have been charged this month alone. (And the single misdemeanor count against Epps, despite documented conduct that should have resulted in multiple serious charges, did nothing to assuage suspicions he is being protected by the DOJ.)

Pro-Trump Memes and Flags

Lurking behind DOJ’s braggadocios data about the January 6 investigation are details that directly contradict Garland’s claims of an apolitical DOJ. To begin, most defendants are Trump voters who traveled to D.C. to show their support for the president and demonstrate against the man who appointed Garland as attorney general. Social media posts, group texts, and videos in support of Trump are often used as incriminating evidence by DOJ. Ditto for memes that criticize Democrats or the 2020 election in general.

Consider these slides in the case of Robert Reeder, who pleaded guilty to the petty offense of “parading” in the Capitol. These screenshots were cited by DOJ as reason to sentence Reeder to four months in prison:

Investigators and prosecutors also use Trump-emblazoned hats, shirts, and flags to demonize J6 defendants. For example, in the 2022 trial of Timothy Hale, an Army reservist charged with obstruction and other counts, an FBI agent on the stand unfurled a massive “Trump 2020” flag to show the jury. Ostensibly, the dramatic moment was supposed to help identify Hale in the mob inside the Capitol—but the government’s real purpose was to enrage the Democratic voters seated on the jury. (It worked. Hale was quickly convicted and sentenced to 4 years.)

The Receipts

Here are other ways that Merrick Garland’s DOJ is bastardizing the “rule of law” in unprecedented and unconstitutional ways to target the regime’s political foes:

Use of 1512(c)(2), obstruction of an official proceeding: DOJ has brought this post-Enron felony against more than 320 J6 defendants; it is also one of four counts in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against Donald Trump. But the statute was never intended to be used this way. As I explained back in March 2021, the law is being abused to turn Trump supporters into felons. The D.C. Circuit court earlier this year also noted that “Section 1512(c)(2) has been on the books for two decades and charged in thousands of cases—yet until the prosecutions arising from the January 6 riot, it was uniformly treated as an evidence-impairment crime.” The appellate court issued a “splintered” ruling as to the applicability of 1512(c)(2) for January 6 defendants, with one judge concluding DOJ was not applying the law appropriately. The Supreme Court could take up the matter as early as next month.

Use of seditious conspiracy charge: Another example of DOJ dusting off an unused law to criminalize political dissent. Roughly two dozen individuals tied to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have been charged with this Civil War-era statute. Before January 6, no American had been convicted of seditious conspiracy, something DOJ itself has acknowledged. “[Seditious] conspiracy is an egregious offense for which defendants are rarely convicted and sentenced,” Graves’ office wrote in a May sentencing memo for members of the Oath Keepers. DOJ further admitted that those convicted of seditious conspiracy were tied to Islamic terror group including ISIS, al Qaeda, and the so-called “blind sheikh,” who conspired with others to detonate a bomb in the World Trade Center in 1993 that killed six and wounded hundreds more. Nonetheless, ten defendants have been found guilty by three separate D.C. juries; the burden of proof, as I explained here, is virtually nonexistent. Defendants are appealing those convictions.

Request for terror sentencing enhancements: In a number of cases, DOJ has asked federal judges to apply terror enhancements at sentencing. The move adds years to the overall calculation of prison time based on sentencing guidelines. In the case of the Proud Boys, Judge Timothy Kelly consented to DOJ’s request for a terror enhancement related to the shaking of a temporary metal fence on Capitol grounds; it even applied to Enrique Tarrio, who was in Baltimore on January 6. DOJ has asked for terror enhancements for defendants convicted of seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Judge Amit Mehta has consented to the enhancement in several of those cases including Connie Meggs, a 61-year-old grandmother from Florida. With the imprimatur of D.C. judges, Garland’s DOJ is creating a new list of federal terrorism crimes that will endanger the exercise of political speech for the foreseeable future.

Demands for pre-trial detention: Out of the box, Garland’s DOJ began seeking pre-trial detention for Trump supporters on charges ranging from assaulting police to conspiracy to obstruction of an official proceeding. DOJ’s requests have resulted in indefinite incarceration for at least 100 defendants; some languished in jail for nearly two years before trial. For example, prosecutors sought to keep Thomas Caldwell, a 65-year-old disabled Navy veteran with no criminal record who carried no weapon and did not enter the building, behind bars after his arrest on nonviolent offenses. “It is difficult to fathom a more serious danger to the community—to the District of Columbia, to the country, or to the fabric of American Democracy—than the one posed by someone who organized insurrectionists to occupy the United States Capitol,” assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Edward wrote in a February 2021 motion seeking pre-trial detention for Caldwell. (Edwards is the son-in-law of disgraced former FBI Director James Comey.) “His deeply-held beliefs motivated him to literally try to take power into his own hands, and releasing him would allow him to try again.” Caldwell, an alleged member of the Oath Keepers, was released the following month.

Opposition to change of venue motions: No one in their right mind believes a Trump supporter can get a fair trial in Washington, D.C., a city that voted 92 percent for Joe Biden and views the events of January 6 far differently than the rest of the country according to jury surveys—no one, that is, except for DOJ prosecutors. (And judges.) The government has objected to every change of venue motion including for high-profile trials that coincided with the televised, heavily publicized work of the January 6 Select Committee. In opposing change of venue for the first Oath Keepers trial, DOJ downplayed the committee’s description of January 6 as an “insurrection” by noting “several judges have already found that what the rioters did at the Capitol on January 6 was an ‘insurrection.’” (Not exactly assuring.) Even as the select committee specifically focused on the Proud Boys, mentioning the defendants by name, DOJ insisted that “the Select Committee hearings are simply not a reason to transfer venue out of the District of Columbia.” So much for Merrick Garland protecting the Sixth Amendment rights of a defendant.

Other examples easily debunk Garland’s insistence that his DOJ operates without consideration of political affiliation or beliefs: the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago; criminal charges against Trump associates Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro; the arrest and prosecution of pro-life advocates; and the surveillance of parents protesting at school board meetings, to name a few.

But nothing more starkly refutes Garland’s sworn testimony than his own ongoing “Capitol Breach” probe.

Can Garland charge himself with perjury?

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Julie Kelly is an independent journalist covering the weaponization of the U.S. Government against her citizens, Follow Kelly on Twitter / X.






Reprinted with permission from Julie Kelly: Declassified. To read more and subscribe, visit her Substack at DECLASSIFIED.LIVE.


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