WATCH LIVE: Attorney General, FBI Director to face Congress amid rising political and international tensions

Washington — a few weeks after the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a resolution Contempt of Congress resolution Against them, Attorney General Merrick Garland is appearing before the panel for an oversight hearing, where he is expected to oppose the move, calling it baseless because it serves “no legitimate purpose.”

Last month, House Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight committees voted to move forward with contempt resolutions against Garland after he defied their request. Audio Recording From a federal investigation into President Biden’s management of classified records.

The Justice Department said on the eve of the contempt vote that it could not comply with a congressional subpoena for recordings of the former special counsel. Robert Hur’s interview with Mr. Biden Because the president claimed executive privilege over the audio. Prosecutors had already released the transcript of the statement and it is uncertain whether the contempt vote will be brought to the full House for a vote.

According to a portion of Garland’s prepared remarks obtained by CBS News, the attorney general is expected to strike a more defiant tone than in previous hearings, telling the committee, “I will not be intimidated. And the Department of Justice will not be. We will continue to do our job free from political influence. And we will not back down from defending our democracy.”

The Justice Department has argued that handing over the actual recording of Mr. Biden’s interview would risk harming future investigations.

“I consider contempt a serious matter,” Garland is expected to say Tuesday. “But I will not jeopardize the ability of our prosecutors and agents to do their jobs effectively in future investigations.”

Special Advocatewho was appointed by Garland to lead the investigation, chose not to charge Mr. Biden as part of the inquiry, but criticized his handling of classified records and questioned whether prosecutors would be able to persuade a jury to convict him given Mr. Biden’s age and memory.

In response to last month’s executive privilege claim, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan charged, “President Biden is asserting executive privilege for the same reason we need the audio recordings — they provide a unique perspective.”

The White House and Mr. Biden rejected Hur’s description of the president’s recall in the interview and argued that the transcript presented a more complete representation of the statement.

Hur is not the only special counsel Garland has appointed It’s his biggest accomplishment in his three years leading the Justice Department, and he’s likely not the only independent investigator Garland will have to answer to when he testifies on Tuesday.

Special counsel Jack Smith has filed two cases against former President Donald Trump – one connected to the 2020 election and another connected to his handling of classified records. Meanwhile, special counsel David Weiss, a Trump-appointed US attorney from Delaware, is currently in the midst of a lawsuit against the president’s son Hunter Biden. He alleges that Hunter Biden illegally purchased a firearm while using drugs.

Both Trump and Hunter Biden have pleaded innocent, denied wrongdoing and accused the Justice Department of letting politics influence the investigation, allegations rejected by both the political right and left.

,[The contempt threat] The attorney general is expected to tell Congress on Tuesday that “this is the latest in a long series of attacks on the work of the Department of Justice.” “It comes on the heels of threats to cut off funding for special department investigations, most recently the special counsel’s prosecution of the former president.”

A Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement ahead of the testimony that Garland will highlight the department’s work throughout his tenure and “vigorously counter false narratives about Department employees and their work.”

Garland has spent three years at the Justice Department and has delivered results in what he says are department priorities, including war crimes charges in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, antitrust cases brought against big companies such as Apple and Ticketmaster and efforts to curb violent crime.

Still, the attorney general’s testimony on Tuesday and the panel’s questions will likely highlight partisan political tensions.

“We are seeing heinous threats of violence against public servants of the Department of Justice,” Garland will tell Congress on Tuesday.

Notably, he is also expected to Trump conviction Last week, 34 felony counts were heard in New York state court, with Trump and his supporters calling the allegations of Justice Department involvement “false”.

“This conspiracy theory is an attack on the judicial process itself,” Garland will say, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by CBS News.

“These repeated attacks on the Department of Justice are unprecedented and baseless… These attacks have not influenced our decision-making — and they will not.”

One of the top Justice Department officials, FBI Director Christopher Wray, is scheduled to appear before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, while the attorney general is scheduled to appear before a House committee.

During his most recent appearance on Capitol Hill, Wray warned, “I can’t think of a time when so many threats to our public safety and national security have been so heightened at once.” He is likely to reiterate those concerns again on Tuesday afternoon.

The FBI director told Congress in April that Conflict in Gaza This has led to an increase in threats against the United States, and the greatest threat comes from those who seek to attack American soil.

During testimony earlier this year, Wray, like Garland, warned of “growing threats” against agents and facilities. “Having a badge is dangerous enough. It shouldn’t make you a target,” he said.

Since then, Smith, the special counsel investigating Trump, a federal judge asked The suit was filed to limit the former president’s public comments after Trump falsely claimed that FBI agents were “authorized to shoot” him as they executed a court-authorized search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago residence in August 2022. Smith alleged last month that Trump “grossly subverted these standard practices by falsely representing that there was a plan to kill him, his family, and U.S. Secret Service agents.” His social media posts and campaign emails about the subject, prosecutors wrote, “created a significant, imminent, and foreseeable threat to law enforcement agents.”

Trump opposed the move, and the federal judge overseeing the case has not yet ruled on the matter and is expected to provide further information in the coming weeks.

In a statement, the FBI said, “The FBI followed standard protocol in this search, as we do for all search warrants, including a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force. No one ordered any additional steps to be taken, and there was no deviation from the norm in this case.”


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