Rachel Maddow Demands Merrick Garland 'Clean Up' DOJ

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has said Attorney General Merrick Garland must make sure the Department of Justice (DOJ) is "cleaned up" following the four years of the Trump administration.

Maddow said on her Tuesday show that the DOJ had been "corrupted" under former Attorney General William Barr, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Her comments come after DOJ lawyers on Monday sought to substitute the department as defendant in a defamation case against Trump taken by the writer E. Jean Carroll. The department had sought to do this when Trump was in office but was not successful.

Maddow told viewers on Tuesday: "Under Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice is AWOL on all of the important stuff facing them right now."

She said it was time to "clean up" the DOJ and find "the depths of the bad behavior and misconduct" committed under the last administration.

The Justice Department under Trump was criticized for defending the use of tear gas against Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C. and Barr's handling of the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, among other issues.

Maddow said Trump "really did use federal law enforcement, he really did use the U.S. Justice Department to lawlessly go after his enemies and reward his friends."

"Under Donald Trump, the U.S. Justice Department was corrupted in multiple cases," she went on.

"Trump didn't just want to do that. He didn't just express a desire to do it. Under Bill Barr, he did it because there were Justice Department officials who did it, who went along, who took the calls, who took the instructions, who quashed the stuff that the White House wanted lawlessly quashed, who forced the things they wanted lawlessly forced. That can't stand as precedent."

"The U.S. Justice Department is too important," Maddow said. "Its credibility is too irreplaceable. That misbehavior during the Trump era at the U.S. Justice Department has to be cleaned up, has to be found out, ferreted out, punished, cleaned up, and come clean to the American people about it.

"Or the Justice Department will be used that way again by the next corrupt president who sees what happened under Bill Barr and the former guy as a legacy of corruption you can build on, and trust me, it will happen. The job of cleaning up a corrupted U.S. Justice Department is a terrible one and a really hard one. But it is a necessity for all the obvious reasons."

Maddow said cleaning up the DOJ would be "a really hard job" no matter who had been appointed attorney general.

"But I'm not sure we knew to expect that some of the worst stuff from the Trump era Justice Department, from the Bill Barr era, not only wouldn't be corrected in terms of accountability, it would be continued under the new leadership, under the Biden administration."

Newsweek has asked the Department of Justice for comment.

Merrick Garland Discusses the George Floyd Verdict
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jury's verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice on April 21, 2021 in Washington, D.C. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has called on Garland to make sure the DOJ is "cleaned up." Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images