Try to guess who’s saying this: “As I look back over the eight years of the Obama/Biden Justice Department, in my view the most problematic aspect of that tenure was that the Department of Justice was politicized and weaponized in a way that was directly contrary to over a century of tradition of the Department of Justice being apolitical and not a partisan tool to target your opponents.”
Yes, that’s a real quote, and yes, it was said by a Republican politician, obviously. But here’s the thing, ask yourself this question, who is the one person on earth who shouldn’t be saying those words and where is the one place on earth shouldn’t he be saying them? If you answered “Ted Cruz at the Merrick Garland confirmation hearing,” you’d be spot on. And yes, I’m not making this up, Ted Cruz actually said those words and he said them in public at the confirmation hearing of Merrick Garland. Really.
Consider how much trouble Cruz is in already for his luxury flight to Cancun from his freezing constituency of Texas. Consider how hated he’s become for his flagrant hypocrisy already this last week.
Consider further that we just spent the last year and a half trying to rid ourselves of the most outrageously toxic and partisan Attorney General in American history, William Barr, a man who has been described by every sane news outlet in the country as “Donald Trump’s lawyer,” a man who Robert Mueller said deliberately misrepresented his report in favor of Donald Trump, a man who paved the way for the insurrection at the Capitol by questioning the validity of the 2020 election and supporting Trump’s interference with the US Postal Service. To ask such a question in light of that history and to try to blame “Obama/Biden” of “weaponized partisanship” without a shred of evidence positively staggers the imagination.
When you further consider that Merrick Garland is one of history’s most outraged victims of Republican partisan weaponization of a process, Cruz’s question is as inappropriately infuriating as Bill Cosby asking E. Jean Carroll if she is going to stop raping Donald Trump.
All of which goes to prove that as long as he’s headed to the political gallows under his own power, Ted Man Walking might as well walk the whole Green Mile. And so he has, right into the history books as the biggest, stupidest, creepiest, most sanctimonious political hack in American history.
But Ted’s self-immolating statement wasn’t made wholly in the name of insanity. There was, at least, some method in his madness. He concluded with, “So it is very much my hope, if you’re confirmed as Attorney General, that you will bring that reputation for integrity to the Department of Justice and demonstrate a willingness to stand up for what will be inevitable political pressure to once again politicize the Department of Justice and use it as a tool to attack the political opponents of the current administration.” In other words, Cruz is trying to lay the groundwork for Trump’s escape from justice. He was trying to get Garland to commit to not prosecuting Trump.
Again, Justice Garland would have none of it. “I can assure you that I do not regard myself as anything other than the lawyer for the people of the United States.” Garland then added with emphasis, “I am not the President’s lawyer.” Yes, we already know what having an AG who works exclusively for the president and exclusively against the American people feels like, thank you very much.
In pressing him further, Cruz tried to get Garland to commit to not weaponizing “Oppo research from the Hillary Clinton campaign” by going after members of the previous administration. Again, Garland saw it coming and gave the correct reply: “It would be inappropriate to target any individual because of their politics or their position in a campaign. The only basis for targeting has to be evidence of a risk of a foreign intelligence problem or of a criminal problem.” In other words, Garland is saying he won’t go after Trump or any member of his pirate ship administration unless there’s evidence of criminality. And, as we all know, there’s plenty.
All of which means one thing and one thing only. Merrick Garland refused to fall for Ted Cruz’s game and, yes, Garland will prosecute Trump and company if evidence of their criminality should cross his desk and, no, he won’t decline to prosecute them just because they’re Republicans. All of which is to say, Cruz will almost certainly vote against Garland’s confirmation because he’s human scum and he never seems to get tired of publicly proving it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.