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Former acting AG Whitaker derides Garland's 'unforced error' on Biden, Trump document probes

"He created his own mess, and now he's gonna have to live with it."

Published: January 13, 2023 6:16pm

Updated: January 13, 2023 6:41pm

Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker on Friday contended that Attorney General Merrick Garland's handling of the Department of Justice investigations into former President Donald Trump's handling of classified documents had forced him to appoint a special counsel to handle an inquiry into President Joe Biden over the same issue.

Garland, this week, appointed special counsel Robert Hur to probe the president's handling of classified documents after previously appoint Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate Trump's own alleged mishandling of sensitive materials. 

"I think this is a huge unforced error by Merrick Garland. He didn't need to appoint a special counsel against Donald Trump," Whitaker said on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "And so what he did though, is he forced his own hand, and in a really unskillful, you know, judge-like manner where he wasn't thinking through the steps that would happen."

"[A]nd what makes it even more quizzical to me, is that he knew when he appointed the special counsel, Jack Smith, against Donald Trump, that Joe Biden had similar problems with classified document mishandling," he went on. "So that tells me that they never planned on this Biden mishandling to ever see the light of day. They were planning on everybody to play nice, that the mainstream media wouldn't cover it, wouldn't hear about it, that it would just kind of never be announced."

"And then it came out. And he has been scrambling ever since... he created his own mess, and now he's gonna have to live with it," Whitaker concluded.

He then addressed the concurrent special counsel investigations, suggesting that the pair needed to come to agreement on the standards to which they would hold both of their investigative targets.

"I think it's gonna be very interesting if the special counsels coordinate their legal analysis," he said. "[I]n each case, you're fundamentally looking at this, you know, gross negligence or recklessness standard, that they need to kind of agree what the facts and circumstances that would trigger that."

Whitaker served as an acting Attorney General under former President Donald Trump, temporarily filling the vacancy between former AGs Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr.

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