MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to “clean house” in the Justice Department following its “misbehavior” during the Trump administration or risk setting a precedent that future corrupt presidents could take advantage of.
The hope following ex-President Donald Trump’s use of the department to “go after his enemies and reward his friends” had been that Garland would root out misconduct, come clean and then move on, said Maddow.
But President Joe Biden’s Justice Department is actually sticking with some Trump-era practices, Maddow explained, highlighting its shocking decision to continue defending Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accuses the former president of raping her in the 1990s.
“Under Donald Trump, the U.S. Justice Department was corrupted in multiple cases,” said Maddow. “That can’t stand as precedent. The U.S. Justice Department is too important. Its credibility is too irreplaceable. That misbehavior during the Trump era at the U.S. Justice Department has to be cleaned up, has to be found out, ferreted out, punished, cleaned up, and come clean to the American people about it.”
“Or the Justice Department will be used that way again by the next corrupt president who sees what happened under Bill Barr and the former guy as a legacy of corruption you can build on. And trust me, it will happen,” she warned.
Maddow acknowledged “the job of cleaning up” was “a terrible one and a really hard one” but “a necessity for all the obvious reasons.”
“I’m not sure we knew to expect that some of the worst stuff from the Trump era, from the Bill Barr Justice Department, would be continued under the Biden administration,” she said. “We knew it had to be cleaned up. We hoped that it would be cleaned up. I don’t think anybody expected it to be continued.”
Watch Maddow’s full explainer here: