AG nominee Garland vows to restore DOJ independence from White House

Attorney general nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland is vowing to defend the Justice Department’s independence from the White House, pursue equal justice for communities of color and make the battle against extremism “central” to the department’s mission, according to remarks prepared for delivery Monday at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Garland, a former top Justice official who last served during the Clinton administration, said he would reaffirm policies that he described as the foundation of the agency, including standards that “protect the independence of the department from partisan influence in law enforcement investigations; that strictly regulate communications with the White House. …”

Acknowledging the public outrage that defined last summer’s social justice protests, Garland highlighted the mission of the department’s Civil Rights Division to protect the rights of the “most vulnerable members of our society.”

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