Attorney General Garland says every inmate ‘deserves dignity’ when asked if ‘biological men’ should be in female prisons as Republicans challenge him over Hunter Biden investigation, fentanyl deaths and rising crime
- AG Merrick Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary about oversight by the Justice Department
- Senator Lindsey Graham asked about the treatment of transgender prisoners
- Senator Charles Grassley sought certainty about the Hunter Biden investigation
Members of the Senate Judiciary have blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland over the rise in fentanyl-related deaths, federal prison policies for transgender inmates, and received assurances that politics will not influence the Hunter Biden investigation.
Wednesday’s appearance before the commission put Garland on the heels of a range of controversial issues facing the Justice Department, from mandatory minimum sentences to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) asked Garland, “What is our policy when it comes to transferring a male inmate to a female prison?”
Senators subdued Attorney General Merrick Garland on prison policy, crime and the Hunter Biden investigation at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing
Garland told him that all matters are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, not categorically.
Graham asked, “Are you concerned that if a biological male is sent to a female prison, that could put female inmates at risk?”
“Every person in prison should be treated with dignity and respect,” he told Graham.
“That determination of the security questions you speak of should be made on an individual basis, not categorically.” Graham asked him to give one Policy of the Bureau of Prisons about the issue.
Another senior Republican, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, asked Garland about the Hunter Biden probe. He noted at the top that he should leave the investigation to the U.S. Attorney in Delaware, a Trump holdover, to isolate it from the appearance of interference.
But Grassley wanted to know if the US attorney would need permission from Biden-appointed officials to charge an alleged crime in another jurisdiction, such as California or Washington, DC.
“I promised not to interfere with that investigation, and I kept my promise,” Garland told him.
Garland appeared before the panel’s first Senate oversight hearing in more than a year
Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. and Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas (right) prepare to press Garland
Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., asked about prison policy to “allow a male inmate to be transferred to a female prison?”
Garland said the Hunter Biden probe was shielded from influence
As for US attorney David Weiss, “He has full authority to make those kinds of referrals you’re talking about.”
The attorney general acknowledged that it “would be a national security problem” if President Biden’s son had received 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 covertly support that foreign government, yes, I definitely think that would be a national security issue,” he said. Garland said.
Panel Chair Senator 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 killed by gunfire in the first two months of this year. There have been at least 94 mass shootings, more than one every day in America this year,” he said.
Graham said: ‘I think this country feels like we’re losing control of our streets. That crime is on the rise, and so is the world [full of] very dangerous people and people no longer feel safe.’
“So 106,000 people died from drug overdoses last year, 70,000 from fentanyl, and it’s getting worse. The leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 40 is fentanyl poisoning. What are we doing?’ asked Graham.