Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago.
When President Biden tapped Merrick Garland to lead the Justice Department last year, he selected a cautious appeals court judge known as a political moderate who could build consensus.
Garland, a former federal prosecutor, would attempt to rebuild trust in the sprawling and powerful law enforcement agency after the tumultuous Trump presidency, his supporters said.
He would try to convince the public and lawmakers that he was an apolitical attorney general, even as he tackled some of the nation’s most contentious political issues.
But the FBI’s highly unusual court-approved search Monday of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club put Garland square in the middle of a huge political firestorm.
The search, part of a long-running probe into the possible mishandling of presidential documents, drew praise from Democrats who have been hoping the Justice Department would seriously investigate Trump and the ire of conservatives who decried the search as an abuse of power.
Trump called the court-authorized search “prosecutorial misconduct” and the “weaponization of the Justice System.”
Some of his supporters say the FBI’s action could galvanize Trump’s base if he runs for president in 2024.
Republican allies on Capitol Hill denounced Garland and pledged to turn the tables and investigate the Justice Department. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said the attorney general should resign or be impeached.