Attorney General Merrick Garland deflected questions about whether the Justice Department is investigating legal violations by former President Donald Trump and about the reach of the ongoing probe into the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6 at his first congressional oversight hearing since he arrived to run the Justice Department seven months ago.

Garland, who had been an appeals court judge for more than two decades before joining the Biden administration this year, told members of the House Judiciary Committee that he is laboring to keep the Justice Department out of politics after four years of chaos during the Trump presidency.

“The Department of Justice has a long-standing policy of not commenting on investigations,” Garland said. “I’m going to have to rest on that.”

Democratic lawmakers pushed Garland to defend congressional interests as a criminal contempt of Congress referral for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon makes its way to the Justice Department this week.
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