Garland Criticized Over Smith Appointment

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) criticized U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during congressional testimony this week over the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting former President Donald Trump. The words came as a number of prominent Republicans criticized the guilty jury verdict in New York last week.

“What gives you the authority to appoint a special counsel to create…you’ve created an office in the U.S. government that does not exist without authorization from Congress,” asked Massie.

Massie cited a statement by former Attorney General Ed Meese that the special counsel’s office is not “clothed in the authority of the federal government” and said that Smith was a “modern example of the naked emperor.”

Improperly appointed, he has no more authority to represent the United States in this Court than Bryce Harper, Taylor Swift or Jeff Bezos,” wrote Meese.

“It seems like you’ve created an office that would require an act of Congress, yet there’s not an act of Congress that authorizes that. And even if it didn’t require an act of Congress, and you’ve already admitted that there was no act of Congress that established this office, it would still require, according to the Constitution, a nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate,” said Massie.

Garland was also criticized by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who described the prosecution of Trump as “lawfare.”

Gaetz said that Garland called accusations that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is communicating with local prosecutors as a conspiracy theory. Gaetz asked whether or not Garland would release “correspondence” related to these prosecutions.

“The question is whether you communicate with them, not control them,” said Gaetz.

He cited the prosecution by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) and Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis (D).

Gaetz asked whether or not Garland made political contributions during his time as a judge. Garland said no. Gaetz then asked whether or not the same principle should apply locally.

The Florida Republican also questioned Garland about the role of Matthew Colangelo. Colangelo had worked in the DOJ prior to joining Bragg’s office.

Gaetz said that the prosecution of Trump would lead to significant issues in the future.