Attorney General Merrick Garland has released a five-page memo outlining a plan to limit the Justice Department’s contacts with the White House.

The only exception would be in cases of national security. Garland said that those should be conducted with “frequent and expeditious communications.”

When President Joe Biden was campaigning as a presidential candidate, he was highly critical of former President Donald Trump’s relationship with Attorney General William Barr, accusing Trump of turning the Department of Justice (DOJ) into his own “private law firm.” Biden made a promise to the American people then that his pick for Attorney General would be neither his nor Kamala Harris’ lawyer. 

Last week, Garland also took away the DOJ’s ability to use subpoenas to obtain journalists’ phone records as was done under the Obama and Trump administrations.

“That trust must be earned every day, and we can do so only through our adherence to the long-standing departmental norms of independence from inappropriate influences, the principled exercise of discretion, and the treatment of cases alike,” Garland wrote in his memo.

In June, around the time that the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN reported that some of its reporters’ telephone and email records were obtained by the DOJ, the department announced that it would no longer request court orders to obtain information from and about journalists who are just “doing their jobs.”

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