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More pointless whining from the criminal-in-chief | Moran

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Let’s face it, it’s beyond awkward for the Biden Justice Department to investigate Donald Trump while he is running for president — especially when his most likely opponent at this stage is Joe Biden himself.

Attorney General Merrick Garland understands that, which is why he announced Friday that he will surrender direct control of the investigation, and hand it to a special counsel, Jack Smith. The final decision on whether to indict Trump will still fall to Garland, but Smith will steer the investigation on his own now, making all decisions regarding subpoenas, searches, questioning of witnesses, and the like.

So, what, exactly, are Trump and leading Republicans bleating about when they protest this move? Why are they are pretending this will give Biden’s team greater control of the investigation – the exact opposite of the truth?

“It’s so unfair!” Trump said. “It is so political.”

“I think it’s very troubling,” said former Vice-President Mike Pence.

“Impeach Merrick Garland!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted.

This bloviation is predictable and dangerous. MAGA Republicans are trying to gin up distrust of the Department of Justice and the FBI to protect their criminal-in-chief from the scrutiny he deserves. They know that millions of mush-brained MAGA supporters will believe them when they say the Department of Justice is corrupt, and the FBI is off the leash. It is a political stunt, and if it leaves behind a pile of stinking cynicism that undermines the rule of law, then so be it. Someone else can clean up the mess.

The good news is that Garland has shrugged off their nonsense from the start, conducting himself with meticulous fairness and unflappable determination. “No person is above the law in this country,” he says.

His choice as special counsel is Jack Smith, a career prosecutor with deep experience in politically sensitive cases. Trump and his allies will undoubtedly smear him as the weeks pass, but the factual record shows no trace of partisanship on his part.

After handling several high-profile criminal cases in New York, Smith was moved to Washington in 2010 to lead the Public Integrity unit, which handles corruption cases. He pressed to dismiss investigations that had lingered too long, in his view, including one focused on Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, the former Republican leader of the House. He later filed criminal charges against John Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina and the nominee for vice president in 2004.

Does that sound like a partisan Democrat who is willing to use the law for political purposes?

Trump announced his candidacy much earlier than normal, and it will cost him money. The Republican National Committee will no longer cover his legal bills, and donors will be limited as laws capping contributions snap into effect. He made the move anyway, no doubt hoping it will give Garland pause by raising the political heat.

It’s not going to work because Garland is not a political hack like the crew of misfits surrounding Trump. In fact, some legal experts believe Smith’s appointment could speed up the investigation, since Smith’s decisions won’t be subject to the bureaucratic reviews that can create delays. He is hard-charger with a chance to be more nimble.

As for Trump, here’s a suggestion: If you don’t want the FBI sniffing up your tail, don’t remove secret documents from the White House, or scheme to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power. And pay your damn taxes.

More: Tom Moran columns

Tom Moran may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @tomamoran. Find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

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