Attorney General Garland says in interview he’d resign if Biden asked him to take action on Trump

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during the Second Annual Family Summit on Fentanyl at DEA Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an interview that aired Sunday that he would resign if asked by President Joe Biden to take action against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. But he doesn’t think he’ll be put in that position.

“I am sure that that will not happen, but I would not do anything in that regard,” he said on CBS “60 Minutes.” “And if necessary, I would resign. But there is no sense that anything like that will happen.”

The Justice Department is at the center of not only indictments against Trump that include an effort to overturn the 2020 election and wrongly keeping classified documents, but also cases involving Biden’s son Hunter, the aftermath of the riot at the U.S. Capitol and investigations into classified documents found in the president’s home and office. Garland has appointed three separate special counsels.

Garland has spoken only sparingly about the cases and reiterated Sunday he would not get into specifics, but dismissed claims by Trump and his supporters that the cases were timed to ruin his chances to be president in 2024.

“Well, that’s absolutely not true. Justice Department prosecutors are nonpartisan. They don’t allow partisan considerations to play any role in their determinations,” Garland said.

Garland said the president has never tried to meddle in the investigations, and he dismissed criticism from Republicans that he was going easy on the president’s son, Hunter, who was recently indicted on a gun charge after a plea deal in his tax case fell apart. Hunter Biden is due in a Delaware court this week.

“We do not have one rule for Republicans and another rule for Democrats. We don’t have one rule for foes and another for friends,” he said. “We have only one rule; and that one rule is that we follow the facts and the law, and we reach the decisions required by the Constitution, and we protect civil liberties.”

Garland choked up when talking about his concerns over violence, particularly as judges and prosecutors assigned to the Trump cases got death threats.

“People can argue with each other as much as they want and as vociferously as they want. But the one thing they may not do is use violence and threats of violence to alter the outcome,” he said. “American people must protect each other. They must ensure that they treat each other with civility and kindness, listen to opposing views, argue as vociferously as they want, but refrain from violence and threats of violence. That’s the only way this democracy will survive.”