‘Who’s Matthew Colangelo?’ Gaetz Grills Garland in Contentious Judiciary Hearing

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You had to know Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) would turn up the heat in Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Attorney General Merrick Garland. Of course he did. 


I know, I know: We want to see action — some actual consequences that stand a chance of effecting positive change in the corrupt blob that our federal bureaucracy has become — particularly the weaponized Justice Department. Still, there’s a certain amount of enjoyment to be had watching Gaetz’s verbal slice-and-dice here. As much as Garland attempted to weasel out of answering the inquiry directly, Gaetz wasn’t having it. 

First, Gaetz pushed back on Garland’s labeling as “dangerous conspiracy theories” assertions that there has been coordination between the DOJ and the offices of the state-level attorneys who’ve gone after former President Donald Trump either criminally or civilly. If they’re conspiracy theories, then there either won’t be any communications between the DOJ and those offices, or what communications there are will be fully above board, so there should be no qualms about producing them, right? 

Gaetz didn’t leave it with calling Garland’s bluff on the purported coordination, however. He landed a well-placed jab while pivoting toward judicial demeanor and propriety.

GAETZ: Now, you were a judge — once nominated to the highest court in our country. When you were a judge, I’m just curious: Did you ever make political donations to partisan candidates? 



(I’d simply like to take a moment and commend the attorney general on what may be the most succinct, direct answer I’ve ever seen him give. Points for that, at least.)

GAETZ: No. And you didn’t because that would create the potential appearance of impropriety —

GARLAND: I didn’t because there’s a federal rule barring federal judges from making contributions.

GAETZ: Right, but under that same theory of attacks on the judicial process…shouldn’t someone be owed like a jury of their peers and a judge that’s non-biased rather than getting a judge from your political opponent’s donor file? 

GARLAND: I’m well aware that you’re not asking a hypothetical. You’re asking me to comment on a jury verdict in another jurisdiction, which has to be respected. I won’t comment on it. That case is still ongoing. The defendant is —

GAETZ: Mr. Attorney General, I hadn’t asked you about the verdict yet. We were getting there. I was talking about the judge. And so, let me ask you this question about your time as a judge: Was there ever a time when you were a judge when you had a family member who was personally profiting off of the notoriety of a case that was before your court? 

GARLAND: I’m going to say again: It’s very clear you’re asking me to comment on a case in another jurisdiction —

GAETZ: No, no, no, no, wait, but hold on, Mr. Attorney General. Did you ever have a family member profit off of the notoriety of any case that you sat on? 

GARLAND: I will say again —

GAETZ: Yes or no? 

GARLAND: You’re asking me to comment on a case currently before —

GAETZ: Well, it seems you’re connecting the dots, Mr. Attorney General. I’m just asking you as to a general principle, but you are aware that Judge Merchan’s daughter was profiting off of this prosecution. You are aware that that creates the appearance of impropriety. You know the very reason there’s a federal rule against judges giving donations is because it is the very attack on the judicial process that we’re concerned about. 

GARLAND: I’m sorry, I don’t agree with anything you just said, but I’m not going to comment on an action in another —


Then Gaetz moved on to the curious career path of Matthew Colangelo. 

GAETZ: Okay, so you won’t comment on it, Mr. Attorney General, but you had no problem dispatching Matthew Colangelo. Who’s Matthew Colangelo?

GARLAND: That is false. I did not dispatch Matthew Colangelo. That’s false.

GAETZ: Matthew Colangelo…became the Assistant Attorney General at the very beginning of the Biden administration. Without having been Senate-confirmed, goes and gets this senior role at the DOJ. And then after, I believe it’s Gupta, replaces Colangelo, Colangelo makes this remarkable downstream career journey from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and then pops up in Alvin Bragg’s office to go get Trump. And you’re saying that’s just a career choice that was made. That has nothing to do with the lawfare coordinated by the —

GARLAND: I’m saying it’s false. I did not dispatch Mr. Colangelo anywhere.

GAETZ: Well, do you know how he ended up there? 

GARLAND: I assume he spoke — he applied for a job there and got the job. 

GAETZ: But see, you know what —

GARLAND: I can tell you I had nothing to do with it.

GAETZ: Well, you might not have had anything to do with it, but we’ve got this contemporaneous evidence in Mr. Pomerantz’s book. So Pomerantz writes this book, which I’m sure you’re aware of, where he says, “We put together the ‘legal eagles’ to get Trump. We got all these folks together, and we assembled them for that purpose.” And so, when we on the Judiciary Committee think about attacks on the judicial process, our concern is that the facts and the law aren’t being followed, a target is acquired — here, Trump — and then you assemble the legal talent from DOJ, Mr. Pomerantz, and you bring everybody in to get him —

GARLAND: I really —

GAETZ: And meanwhile, the judge is making money on it! The judge is making money on — or the judge’s family is making money on it for stuff that you yourself wouldn’t do. You know, no one’s going to buy this, no one’s going to believe it, it’s going to create great disruption. And I’m saddened by it because, like you, I’ve given my life to the law. I care deeply about the law and I think that the lawfare we’ve seen against President Trump will do great damage well beyond our time in public service. 


As per usual, Garland sputtered his way through ineffective non-answers to the questions put to him. Imagine if, instead, he’d said something along the lines of: 

Absolutely, we’d be happy to turn over any communications between those offices and the DOJ — though I don’t believe there are any. 

And yes, I think all judges — state or federal — should refrain from making political contributions to avoid the appearance of impropriety. I also believe they should recuse if there’s any indication they or their family may have a financial stake in the outcome of a particular case. 

And lastly, while I wasn’t involved in Mr. Colangelo’s career decisions, I certainly understand why some may question the move, but that’s something you’d need to address with him.

Of course, I suppose if he were to say something along those lines, the left would be calling for his head on a pike because heaven forbid one acknowledge that anyone remotely associated with Donald Trump might have a valid point. 

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