President Joe Biden's admission that he'd like to see former President Donald Trump prosecuted for the Jan. 6 riots and that he's disappointed Attorney General Merrick Garland has not taken tougher action strikes conservatives as hypocritical.
Especially hypocritical, they say, is the silence from the mainstream media that skewered Trump when it perceived him committing similar actions.
The New York Times on Sunday reported on what it called Garland's "growing pressure" to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which Democrats and many in the mainstream press have blamed Trump and his allies of inciting. Trump has denied any such involvement, pointing out that most attendees of his rally outside the White House that day were peaceful and did not participate in the riot later at the Capitol building.
According to the Times, quoting two unnamed sources, Biden "[a]s recently as late last year … confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted."
Biden "has never communicated his frustrations directly" to Garland, the Times reported, but added "he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6."
Conservative Twitter blew up with condemnation:
- "Either The NY Times printed fake news or Joe Biden is pressuring his Attorney General to prosecute Trump and others. The White House won’t say. The House Judiciary Committee should be getting these answers next week," tweeted Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
- "Biden is telling staff he wants his Justice Department to PROSECUTE President Trump. Imagine what he’s doing to protect Hunter," RNC Research tweeted.
- "Joe Biden is the first president ever to pressure the DOJ to arrest his predecessor. They really are everything they falsely accused Trump of being. Thuggery!" said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.
- 'The ruling party wants to prosecute its opponents. The Democrats can never lecture Third World countries ever again. They’ve weaponized government like no others. And the DC media is cheerleading them on," said Richard Grenell, Trump's ambassador to Germany and acting Director of National Intelligence.
- "Biden is asking the DOJ for something terrible!" said conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza.
- Newsmax TV host Sebastian Gorka and others pointed out exactly what they think that is: "Biden is interfering with the DOJ."
Former Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., appearing Monday on Newsmax's "American Agenda," said that while Garland himself is trying to stay as apolitical as possible, there is no reaction at all from the mainstream press over the comments.
"Where is the absolute outrage at these comments from the president, Joe Biden, about wanting to go after and jail or prosecute the former president?" Collins said. "It was amazing to me that the press, especially the mainstream media … President Trump could say something that was unrelated, not even contacting the Department of Justice and they would want to have impeachment proceedings done. Democrats on the Hill would just go crazy about it."
In Biden's case, however, "everybody just seems [like] well, it's just normal. That's what's supposed to be," he said.
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, who is no conservative, also was critical of the statement, agreeing with conservatives that the leak of Biden's feelings on the subject puts improper pressure on his attorney general, something that Turley and other liberals said Trump was guilty of doing, and they criticized him for it.
Still, Turley wrote in a blog post that D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine dropped his pursuit of possible charges because "there is not clear evidence of a crime."
"The leaking of the President’s demand puts Garland in an even more difficult position," Turley writes. "The clear intent of the leak is to let Garland know what the President expects from him. Yet, Garland has already been criticized by some of us for refusing to appoint a special counsel in the Hunter Biden scandal."
"Absent new evidence of direct culpability, such a prosecution would likely result in either acquittal or an appellate reversal," Turley said. "That would raise concerns over the Justice Department pursuing a political rather than a legal agenda — the very danger that Garland pledged to avoid when he stressed 'I am not the president’s lawyer. I am the United States’ lawyer."
Former Rep. Collins told Newsmax that he's suspicious that when issues of Hunter Biden's laptop suddenly begin to make news "all of a sudden you have these leaks again."
"When Hunter Biden's laptop hits the surface, oops, let's let's revert back to other things: January 6th, Donald Trump, mean tweets. Whatever you want to talk about," he said. "'We don't want to go to Hunter Biden's laptop.' And that's when it always comes back up."
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