Although the first corrupt U.S. Attorney General came under the incapacitated Democratic president Woodrow Wilson when A. Mitchell Palmer initiated “Palmer Raids” known as the “Red Scare” it has been Attorneys General under Republican presidents that have carried on the precedent of abuse. From A.G. Daugherty’s Tea Pot Dome scandal, to A.G. Mitchell advocating Nixon’s unauthorized use of wiretaps, to G.W. Bush’s A.G. Ashcroft endorsing the use of torture in Abu Ghraib, the list goes on.
When former Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions misled the Senate about his contacts with Russian officials during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, serving as A.G. under Trump, he recused himself from the investigation into Russian collusion. When Trump learned that A.G. Rosenstein had appointed Robert Mueller to head the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump famously said, “I’m fucked.” But Trump turned things around by appointing corrupt Bill Barr as Attorney General who would forever tarnish Robert Mueller’s previously unblemished record as a tough prosecutor of white-collar criminals. We may never know how, but Barr was able to completely hamstring Mueller’s investigation.
Enter Merrick Garland, twice considered to fill vacated seats to the U.S. Supreme Court and considered by Republicans as “a consensus nominee.” In March 1997, when Bill Clinton nominated Garland to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, most of the Republican-controlled Senate voted 76-23 to confirm, including McCain, Hatch, Collins and Inhofe, with McConnell, Grassley and Sessions voting against. Therefore, it’s not surprising that, in 2016, when President Obama finally nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia, Mitch McConnell blocked it for a record 293 days.
Garland is considered a judicial moderate and a centrist. As a Supreme Court Justice, Garland’s record leaning moderate to conservative on civil rights could have been an issue. In ten criminal cases, Judge Garland disagreed with his more-liberal colleagues, in each, adopting the position that was more favorable to the government. However, as a U.S. Attorney General, Garland has a strong record of prosecuting terrorists. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Garland led the investigation and wanted to personally prosecute Timothy McVeigh.
Just yesterday, Garland publicly vowed to target white supremacists and others who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. This was a smart strategy preempting expected attempts by Senate Republicans like McConnell who have already promised to disrupt the hearings with fake demands such as an investigation into Hunter Biden.
Chicago native Lorraine Evanoff earned her degree in French from DePaul University then became a Certified Financial Manager. She worked as a finance exec in film production for seven years in Paris, then in Silicon Valley during the dot-com era, and later for various Hollywood production companies, notably as CFO of National Lampoon. She is currently living in Los Angeles with her husband.