OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A Republican senator has vowed to hold what he sees as a politicized Justice Department into account after former President Donald Trump’s indictment last week and his arraignment in a federal court in Miami on Tuesday.
Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio vowed to block all of President Joe Biden’s personnel nominations for the department, saying, “Until Merrick Garland stops using his agency to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, I will hold all DoJ nominees.”
Vance announced his strategy in a video posted to social media.
“It’s time we stopped just whining about this problem and debating this problem and actually do something about it,” he said.
Until Merrick Garland stops using his agency to harass Joe Biden’s political opponents, I will hold all DoJ nominees. pic.twitter.com/UVRwi6Ue01
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) June 13, 2023
“I’ve announced today that I will be holding all Department of Justice nominees that Merrick Garland will use, if confirmed, not to enforce the law impartially… but clearly to harass his political opponents,” Vance says. “I think we have to grind this department to a halt until Merrick Garland promises to do his job and stop going after his political opponents.”
Vance went on to rip the DOJ under Garland and President Joe Biden for appearing to focus mostly on political opponents of the Democratic Party, such as conservative Catholic organizations, parents who criticize woke policies at school board meetings, and, of course, Trump.
“Donald Trump is just one, and the most recent example of the fact that Merrick Garland uses his Department for political purposes,” he said.
Vance’s strategy would not entirely stop Biden’s DOJ nominees, but each one would have to be confirmed via a floor vote instead of simply by unanimous consent, slowing the process.
At present, Democrats hold a slim 50-seat majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.
Under the strategy, though, the department could be denied new federal prosecutors and, potentially, nominees for the federal bench.
In a response tweet, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) voiced her support for the plan.
“Yes @JDVance1! Thank you! Action is the only way forward. Stop the weaponized government and hold them accountable!” she noted.
Special Counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump with 37 counts related to his handling of classified documents. If he is found guilty on all counts, Trump — who is President Joe Biden’s chief rival in next year’s presidential election — could face decades in prison.
Trump pleaded “not guilty” through his attorneys in federal court on Tuesday. The federal judge overseeing the case granted Trump a pretrial release with no special conditions, with the exception of no contact with witnesses.
According to the indictment, Trump allegedly showed classified documents to a number of people who did not have the proper security clearances on at least two separate occasions. The DOJ alleges that both instances took place at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
Details regarding one of the alleged instances were leaked to CNN.
The network reported on June 2 that federal prosecutors had “obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, multiple sources told CNN, undercutting his argument that he declassified everything.”
Trump announced last Thursday that he had been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges connected to his handling of classified materials.
The charges “include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations,” ABC News reported.