During his first appearance in the Senate since his return from a Cancún vacation that came under fire over his decision to leave his state and constituents in crisis, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) used his time to attack the Obama administration.
The Cancun battered senator complained that the Justice Department under President Barack Obama had been “politicized and weaponized.” However, Cruz had never complained when those same charges were leveled against the Trump Justice Department. During his term, Donald Trump had openly regarded the attorney general as someone who should be loyal to him.
Cruz pressed Garland several times on the issue of partisanship and the politicization of the Justice Department, citing only examples from the Obama years, including the surveillance of some Trump aides over possible collusion with Russia.
“The only basis for targeting has to be evidence of the risk of a foreign intelligence problem or of a criminal problem. And that is a nonpartisan issue,” Garland said. “That is a question of objective facts and law. And it can never be an effort to help one party or another party in politics, in investigations and prosecutions. There is no party. The department is an independent, nonpartisan actor, and that’s my job to ensure that that’s the case.”
“I do not regard myself as anything other than the lawyer for the people of the United States, and I am not the president’s lawyer. I am the United States’ lawyer,” Garland said. “And I will do everything in my power, which I believe is considerable, to fend off any effort by anyone to make prosecutions or investigations partisan or political in any way,” Garland said.
Cruz’s appearance in the Senate comes days after his return from Cancún. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, individuals who travel internationally should get tested for the novel coronavirus three to five days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel.
A spokeswoman for Cruz did not immediately respond when asked why he was not quarantining at home.