U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that Republican threats to defund the FBI would be "catastrophic" if carried out and that the Justice Department did not exist to do anyone's political bidding. Garland pushed back against Republican lawmakers who have criticized DOJ e for its handling of the indictments of former President Trump and Hunter Biden. "Our job is not to take orders from the president, from Congress, or from anyone else, about who or what to criminally investigate," Garland said. Some of Trump's hardline Republican allies have called for a defunding of the FBI to protest its investigation into 1,140 Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a bid to overturn his election defeat. Garland warned that cutting FBI resources would leave the nation "naked" to everything from the "malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party" to "domestic violent extremists."
"I just cannot imagine the consequences of defunding the FBI," Garland said. "They would be catastrophic."
The White House has dismissed an impeachment probe into President Biden as politically motivated and unsubstantiated. The committee's ranking Democrat, Jerrold Nadler, on Wednesday accused Republicans of wasting "countless taxpayer dollars" on investigations into Biden "to find evidence for an absurd impeachment." Republicans spent much of Wednesday's hearing criticizing DOJ's handling of a five-year-long tax investigation into Hunter Biden, 53. After a plea deal collapsed, Garland appointed Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel so he could continue to investigate and possibly pursue tax charges in other federal districts. Weiss has charged Hunter Biden with three counts related to purchase and possession of a firearm while he was using illegal drugs. Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) repeatedly suggested that Mr. Garland had slow-walked the investigation of Hunter Biden, with an aim toward minimizing the political damage to his boss. “The fix is in,” Jordan said. “Even with the face-saving indictment last week of Hunter Biden, everyone knows the fix is in.” Neither Jordan nor other Republicans who made the same point, provided concrete proof for their claim, the New York Times reports.