The new head of the Ministry of Justice pledged to restore confidence in the department and protect it from political interference
Senators on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the candidacy of Merrick Garland, nominated by President Joe Biden for the post of Attorney General of the United States. Garland, a judge of the Federal Court of Appeals, was able to enlist the support of Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, who refused to support him in 2016 when former President Barack Obama nominated Garland for the Supreme Court nomination.
This time, Garland was supported by 70 senators, including all Democrats and 20 Republicans, while 30 Republican senators voted against. Republicans who have agreed to the appointment include Mitch McConnell and two former Chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee: Lindsay Graham and Chuck Grassley.
Garland, 68, will head the Justice Department at a crucial time when the state is preoccupied with fighting domestic extremism. The new attorney general will be in charge of important investigations begun under former President Donald Trump, including the investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of the current President of the United States.
In 2016, the Senate, which was then controlled by the Republicans, refused to consider the candidacy of Merrick Garland, nominated by Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. Then the senators did not even begin to hold hearings to discuss his candidacy. This allowed Donald Trump to appoint a conservative judge to a vacant position in the country’s highest judicial body.
Garland will oversee the investigation into the January 6 invasion of the Capitol, when the Congress building was effectively seized by Trump supporters. Garland called the attack “disgusting” and promised that this investigation would be one of his priorities. In connection with this incident, hundreds of people were arrested, including members of right-wing extremist groups.
During the hearings to confirm his candidacy, Garland promised to restore confidence in the Department of Justice and protect the department from political interference. For example, Reuters cites facts when Donald Trump repeatedly intervened in the affairs of the Justice Department, putting pressure on its officials in order to persecute their political opponents, and, conversely, helping his friends and allies who were at the center of criminal investigations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Garland “understands that the attorney general’s job is to defend the rule of law, unlike previous attorneys general appointed by President Trump, who too often obeyed his whim and his will, even if it was illegal.”