I wasn’t remotely surprised when news starting seeping out and spilling all over the Capitol Hill press corps Friday morning that Merrick Garland was about to cave and assign a special counsel to look into the Republicans’ energizer bunny, Hunter Biden.
Disgusted? Yes. Surprised? Not in the least.
The buck has never stopped anywhere near the vicinity of Garland since he became our Attorney General in 2021, so of course he was going to put somebody else in charge of looking into whatever it is Republicans have endlessly alleged the hapless Biden of doing, rather than putting his foot down for once and stopping the whole damn thing.
Apparently, this career officer of the law has an endless supply of special counsels hanging in his closet who he can whip out in a pinch to keep him headed in the approximate direction of right and wrong.
It’s a nice accommodation for a guy with a decided lack of spine.
With the investigation into Donald Trump’s attack on America finally on full boil after more than two years, Garland somehow calculated that right now was as good a time as any to let everybody in America know that he was laser-focused on President Biden’s troubled son, who has never been a threat to anybody or anything except, sadly, his family.
Hunter seems to be a real mess of a man, but if we are appointing special counsels for that, maybe Garland long ago should have reached into his closet and hauled out four more special counsels for each of Trump’s abhorrent children, who made BILLIONS in service to themselves in the White House.
Since accepting the AG position, Garland has relentlessly proven himself to be the wrong man at the wrong time during the most perilous period in our nation since the Civil War.
Either he somehow doesn’t see the damage and the looming danger that has been inflicted on this country by Trump and his abominable Republicans, or he just can’t seem to make himself care too much about it.
If you think I’m being hard here, I welcome all semi-plausible explanations for the man’s hesitancy to immediately launch a formal investigation into the attack on our country that brought us within inches of fascism, the beginning of one-party rule, and the end of attorney generals altogether.
That, and nothing less, is what Trump and his violent, anti-American Republican Army were on the march for in the months following the November, 2020 Election. I’m only smart enough to know this because like hundreds of millions of other Americans, I watched and heard it play out in all its gory detail.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes …”
“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th! Be there, will be wild!”
“Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”
By waiting 681 days after the attack to take any action, instead of doing what he should have done but hours after raising his right hand and stepping into the most powerful law enforcement position in the world, Garland did more to normalize the horrific events before, on, and after January 6, 2021, than anybody in America, including the burnt-orange attacker himself, Donald Trump.
By refusing to even speak to our country about one of the most horrible days in American history, Garland told us very clearly all we needed to know about his priorities. By waiting until the holiday season of 2022 to do what he does best and punt his responsibilities to somebody else — in this case, Jack Smith — Garland handed the Republican Party the megaphone and precious political time to gather their base and run with their obscene narrative that what we all watched transpire wasn’t so bad after all, and that their idol and meal ticket, Trump, was actually a victim.
Essentially, by doing nothing tangible that we could actually see or hear, Garland helped Republicans gaslight us. Did we really watch that? Did that terrible, terrible day even happen? Was it really as bad as we remembered?
Dangerous thing this gaslighting, and it is slowly killing our country. Each day the dial gets turned a little farther to the Right and the absurd slowly gets twisted into something approaching an acceptable normal.
-There will be no accountability for this disgusting, bought-off, mess of a man, Clarence Thomas, because as a Supreme Court Justice he is actually above the law. So there’s nothing to see here …
-Trump is running for president, not because he gives a single damn about this country or anybody in it besides himself, but because it is his only shot to stay out of prison. That’s completely normal …
-The NRA wants to get military-grade weaponry in everybody’s hands to protect us from all the guns out there. Makes complete sense …
-Killer pandemics? Well, science and vaccines are no answer for that …
-Slavery was America’s original sin and it haunts us to this day, but that’s only because people keep bringing it up all the time. Ban those damn books, stop teaching kids about it, and it will all magically disappear …
Look, I was rooting for Merrick Garland as much as anybody in America when he was appointed. I knew he was going to have to be our hope to FINALLY hold the son of a bitch, Trump, accountable for his repeated attacks on or country.
When months and months went by without even a single word from him, and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to furiously and expertly assemble the January 6th Committee to draw attention and provide a readable roadmap to what led up to and transpired that terrible winter day, it was plain as day that Garland wasn’t much interested in saving us.
I’ve often wondered what President Biden thinks about the job Garland is doing. My sense has been he supported the man thoroughly, but lately I have wondered if he ever gave any thought to removing him for his dereliction of duty.
That no longer matters now.
Garland might not care about, nor understand the gravity of America’s situation, but he showed us Friday he does know what Washington is all about: holding onto power.
By acquiescing to Republicans and appointing this special counsel to look into the president’s son, he has made it all but impossible for his boss to get rid of him, lest he look vindictive and partisan.
Maybe Garland’s a helluva smarter and even more dangerous than I thought.
(D. Earl Stephens is the author of “Toxic Tales: A Caustic Collection of Donald J. Trump’s Very Important Letters” and finished up a 30-year career in journalism as the Managing Editor of Stars and Stripes. Follow @EarlofEnough)
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