Jul 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Garland moves to restrict DOJ contact with White House

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a news conference at the Department of Justice on June 25

Attorney General Merrick Garland during a June news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo Wednesday designed to prevent political interference from the White House on Department of Justice matters.

Why it matters: The highly anticipated directive follows allegations of political interference during the previous administration, when former President Trump broke with convention to push the DOJ to investigate those he felt had scorned him while advocating for allies during investigations.

What he's saying: "The success of the Department of Justice depends upon the trust of the American people," Garland wrote in the memo, first obtained by USA Today.

  • "That trust must be earned every day, and we can do so only through our adherence to the long-standing departmental norms of independence from inappropriate influences, the principled exercise of discretion and the treatment of like cases alike."

Of note: Garland announced new guidelines Monday limiting DOJ and FBI investigators from seizing materials from reporters and news outlets except in extreme cases.

  • This policy follows disclosures that the DOJ, under the Trump administration, secretly obtained records of journalists from CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Read the full memo, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper