Senators Question AG Merrick Garland on Crime, Rising Fentanyl Deaths and Trans Prisoners
Attorney General Garland says every inmate ‘deserves dignity’ when asked if ‘biological men’ should be in women’s prisons as Republicans grill him about Hunter Biden investigation, fentanyl deaths and rising crime .
- AG Marrick Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary on Justice Department oversight
- Senator Lindsey Graham asked about the treatment of transgender prisoners
- Senator Charles Grassley asked for assurances on the Hunter Biden investigation
Members of the Senate Judiciary questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland about the rise in fentanyl-related deaths, federal prison policy for transgender inmates and obtained assurances that the policy will not influence the Hunter Biden investigation.
Wednesday’s appearance before the committee put Garland in the dock on a variety of controversial issues the Justice Department intersects with, from mandatory minimum sentences to the treatment of prisoners being held at the Bay of Guantanamo.
Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) asked Garland, “What is our policy when it comes to allowing a male inmate to be transferred to a female prison?”
Garland told him that all matters are handled ‘case by case,’ not categorically.
Senators questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland about prison policies, crime and the Hunter Biden investigation during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
Graham asked: ‘Are you concerned that if a biological male is sent to a women’s prison, that could be a risk to female prisoners?’
“Every person in prison should be treated with dignity and respect,” he told Graham.
“That determination of the security issues you’re talking about has to be done on an individualized basis, not categorically.” Graham asked him to provide any Bureau of Prisons Policy on the matter.
Another senior Republican, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, asked Garland about the Hunter Biden investigation. He noted at the top that he needed to leave the investigation in the hands of the US Attorney in Delaware, a Trump holdover, to insulate him from the appearance of interference.
But Grassley wanted to know whether the federal prosecutor would need the approval of Biden appointees to charge an alleged crime in another jurisdiction, such as California or Washington, DC.
“I have promised not to interfere with that investigation and I have kept my promise,” Garland told him.
Garland appeared at the panel’s first Senate oversight hearing in more than a year.
Sens. Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri. and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (right) prepare to pressure Garland
Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., asked about prison policies to “allow a male inmate to be transferred to a female prison.”
Garland said the Hunter Biden investigation was being protected from influence
Regarding US Attorney David Weiss, “He has full authority to make those kinds of references that you’re talking about.”
The attorney general acknowledged that “it would be a national security concern” if President Biden’s son had been receiving previously undisclosed payments from another country in an attempt to influence policy.
“If it’s an agent of a foreign government asking someone and paying someone to do things to secretly support that foreign government, yeah, I definitely think that would be a national security issue,” Garland said.
The panel’s chair, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), raised the issue of mass shootings in his opening statement, a day after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was defeated in her Chicago primary. “More than 6,800 – 6,800 – Americans have been shot and killed in the first two months of this year. There have been at least 94 mass shootings, more than one every day this year in the United States,” he said.
Said Graham: ‘I think there’s a feeling in this country that we’re losing control of our streets. That crime is rising, and the world is [full of] very dangerous people and people don’t feel safe anymore’.
‘So 106,000 people died from drug overdoses, 70,000 from fentanyl last year and it’s getting worse. The leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 40 is fentanyl poisoning. What are we doing?’ Graham asked.