Garland asked about Eric Holder’s infamous Obama 'wingman' comments, says he’s ‘not the president’s lawyer’

Garland said that his job is to 'protect the Department of justice'

Judge Merrick Garland insisted that he would serve the people and not the president if he is confirmed as the next U.S. attorney general.

President Joe Biden’s pick faced tough questions over his role and relationship with the president, with some senators on the Judiciary Committee referring to President Barrack Obama’s attorney general as an unflattering example.

Holder famously referred to himself as "the president’s wingman," and some lawmakers worried that Garland might take a similar view.

Garland insisted, however, that he is "not the president’s lawyer."

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"I can assure you I do not regard myself as anything other than the lawyer for the people of the United States," Garland said in response to a point-blank question from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Garland faced similar questions about accountability and the possibility of weaponizing the Justice Department, but he maintained that he would put the department and the people ahead of any presidential interest.

"My job is to protect the Department of Justice," Garland said.

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When asked if he could commit to not going after political enemies of the Biden administration, Garland said he would "absolutely" not direct the department in that way, calling it "totally inappropriate."