AG Garland in the hot seat as House Judiciary to probe him on Hunter Biden, Trump

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the American Bar Association annual meeting on August 7 in Denver.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the American Bar Association annual meeting on August 7 in Denver.
David Zalubowski/AP

Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning where Republicans are expected to grill him over the investigations into Hunter Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The hearing is meant to be part of the committee's standard oversight duties, but the morning's meeting between the U.S.'s top prosecutor and the panel's Republican members promises to be heated.

If the hearing of FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this summer is any indication, Garland is set for a tense hours-long meeting filled with accusations of an agency politicized.

Congressional Republicans have long criticized Garland and his department for exactly that — even floating the idea of opening an impeachment inquiry into Garland.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

GOP lawmakers have called Garland out for a perceived "two-tiered" system of justice when it came to investigating Republicans and Democrats.

That's due to the investigations into President Joe Biden's handling of classified material, his surviving son, Hunter Biden and of former President Donald Trump.

Garland will be prepared to defend his agency.

In an excerpt from his prepared statement to the committee, Garland said: "There is not one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless; one for the rich, another for the poor; one for Democrats, another for Republicans; or different rules, depending upon one's race or ethnicity or religion."

He continued, "As the President himself has said, and I reaffirm here today: I am not the President's lawyer. I will also add that I am not Congress's prosecutor. The Justice Department works for the American people. Our job is to follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead. And that is what we do."

Why Hunter Biden and special counsel Jack Smith will be a big focus

The younger Biden has been the subject of an investigation led by special counsel David Weiss since 2019.

His special counsel designation came after a plea deal between Biden and federal prosecutors fell apart. As part of the plea deal, Biden would have avoided prosecution on a felony firearm offense.

But earlier this month, Biden was indicted on felony gun charges.

As the investigation was ongoing, two IRS agents came forward and accused the DOJ publicly of giving Biden preferential treatment and slow-walking the investigation.

This added fuel to Republicans' assertion that the DOJ is protecting the Biden family from criminal prosecution.

As part of the committee's inquiry into this investigation, the panel plans to bring Weiss in for questioning later this fall.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner this week, Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan made it clear that a major focus for the committee this morning will be also be on special counsel Jack Smith, who has led the federal investigation into Trump.

Jordan and other Republican lawmakers have sided with Trump in his claims that he did nothing wrong and that Smith and the DOJ are interfering in the 2024 election by prosecuting the former president.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit