Former federal criminal justice leaders, who are also in support of Judge Merrick Garland's nomination for attorney general, offered him advice during today's confirmation hearing.
Retired US Federal Court of Appeals Judge Ken Starr was asked by Texas Sen. John Cornyn what advice he'd give Garland on handling the ongoing investigation into the FBI's Russia investigation that's being handled by Special Counsel John Durham.
Starr responded that it would be "very wise and prudent for Judge Garland as attorney general to show the kind of respect and restraint, that he has demonstrated throughout his judicial career. He should preserve, protect, and defend that investigation and to provide the assurances to Mr. Durham that that protection will proceed, so long as there is not good cause for his removal which of course would be a very daunting standard to me."
During Garland's hearing on Monday, he was barred from answering questions about ongoing investigations because of his current role as a sitting judge when asked by the senators.
Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked Donna Bucella, the former director for the Executive Office for the United States Attorneys, what options Garland should consider if "he finds out that the problems" at the Justice Department are "actually worse than just what the inspector general and OPR [Office of Professional Responsibility] can handle."
When Garland was approached with a similar question on Monday by Whitehouse, he suggested that the inspector general and OPR handle internal investigations, but Whitehouse thinks that "the problem is worse ... it's systemic."
Bucella suggested that Garland should consider commissioning an advisory committee subcommittee that consists of US attorneys who have access to other law enforcement and can hear what's going on in their communities.
The subcommittee can also "be able to provide input and information and recommendation for resolution or recommendations for where we go next. I think that there are so many dedicated men and women out there in the DOJ law enforcement community, as well as the state locals and I do think that they have some incredible insights that really help Judge Garland and when he becomes the attorney general to figure out how to write the ship," Bucella said.