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Justice Department Seeks to Restore Independence from White House

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a directive Wednesday that seeks to limit contacts between the Justice Department and the White House, marking a significant departure from the Trump era. 

In the memo, Garland said the Justice Department “will not advise the White House concerning pending or contemplated criminal or civil law enforcement investigations or cases unless doing so is important for the performance of the President’s duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The memo made exceptions for matters of national security and foreign relations. 

The guidelines are in stark contrast to Trump’s White House, which repeatedly sought to influence the DOJ and stay abreast of the department’s criminal investigations and cases.

The wording of the memo is similar to a 2009 memo issued by then-attorney General Eric Holder. Although that memo remained in effect during Trump’s term, he continually violated the language. 

In a related memo on Wednesday, the White House instructed its staff to avoid contact with departments or agencies about investigations unless given approval. 


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