Garland Issues Memo Shielding Political Candidates From DOJ Inquiries

Attorney General Merrick Garland approved a memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which extends a policy that was established under Trump’s administration on how the department can investigate candidates. This could give the former president additional protection from federal inquiries while he considers another run for the presidency.

The memo was first reported on by MSNBCRachel Maddow is the host demands that investigators receive written permission from the attorney generalBefore opening inquiries into individuals running or vice-presidential candidates, or into senior officials involved in their political campaigns. It also limits the information that DOJ officials can provide or how they can proceed with an investigation of such people.

The memo, written in May this year, reiterates a policy that was implemented under former President Donald Trump by William Barr, the former Attorney General. At the time, many viewed Barr’s memo, crafted in February 2020, as being in response to Trump’s continued anger toward inquiries involving him or his underlings, and how those investigations could paint a negative portrayal of him during that year’s presidential race. Many criticised the policy for allowing Trump and his associates to be able to use it. a “free pass” from investigations during an election yearTrump was a political figure, and not a private citizen, for as long as he remained so.

It’s not unusual for U.S. attorneys general to urge caution during elections, but Barr was reportedly the first to require investigators to obtain his permission before opening any inquiries into individuals running for president or vice president, or those involved in their campaigns.

Garland, who is the author of this memo, wrote that he would like to know who he was. faces steep criticism for not doing more to investigate or indict Trump for the former president’s past misdeeds, seeks to continue the policy started by Barr.

“The Department of Justice has a strong interest in the prosecution of election-related crimes, such as those involving federal and state campaign finance laws, federal patronage laws, and corruption of the election process,” the memo states. “As Department employees, however, we must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and non-partisanship.”

Just like Barr, Garland requires investigators who believe they may even face “the appearance of an issue” regarding the timing of statements or steps they take in inquiries to “contact the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division (“PIN”) for further guidance.” Any new investigation must be signed off by Garland, the memo says, citing the guidance created by Barr in 2020.

The memo doesn’t preclude investigations from happening against political figures. It slows down the process and requires more steps than many consider necessary to open inquiries against suspects.

The policy could play an important role in any inquiries that DOJ officers may open (or have opened) against Trump, particularly if he decides to announce his candidacy in 2024. Trump may be considering it as soon as this fall, partly because He believes it will stop him being investigated or indicted..

Critics warned that the continuation of Barr’s policy will do no good for the country, as it will allow Trump and others to avoid being held accountable for their actions, particularly those relating to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“If Merrick Garland hides behind the institutional concern about not appearing partisan and lets Trump slip away by declaring himself a presidential candidate, he will do serious harm to rule of law and the principle no one is above the law,” said journalist Steven Beschloss.

Daily Beast Wajahat Ali, a columnist, agreed that Trump could face no repercussions from his involvement in the Capitol Attack or his attempts at overturning the 2020 presidential election.

“As predicted, nothing will happen to Trump and his associates, traitors who tried to overthrow our democracy. They’ll all fail up,” Ali tweeted. “Why? To protect ‘institutions’ that have long since failed the American people.”

“It is profoundly unlikely that there will be any indictments of Trump or anyone related to his campaign before the midterms, and if Trump declares for 2024 in the coming weeks, as he has indicated he plans to do, the likelihood that he will be indicted or prosecuted before the next presidential election is slim to none,” Elizabeth McLaughlin, CEO of Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, wrote in her newsletter. “And that, of course, will mean there will be no accountability at all.”