In The Incredible Shrinking Man, the character Scott Carey is trapped in a thick fog that causes him to shrink to the point that he lives in a doll house and fights off the house cat. Carey said that the unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle.

In the aftermath of the FBI search of former President Donald Trump's home at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., Attorney General Merrick Garland's stature was summed up by a single image.

Garland was nominated for attorney general and I supported him at the time. He is a person with integrity and ethics, which makes him a better choice for the courts than the Cabinet.

Doubts about Garland's handling of controversy

His personality is more important than his character in dealing with politics. Concerns have grown in the last week.

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The FBI's search of Trump's home left a lot of unanswered questions. The former president's retention of top secret documents would appear to be a very serious violation.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's home in Florida.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's home in Florida.

The declassified status of the documents may affect the viability of any prosecution.

Garland has dealt with questions over bias or abuse in his department mostly reactively.

Garland promised during his confirmation hearing that he wouldn't be influenced by politics as attorney general. The Justice Department has caredened from one political controversy to another without any indication that Garland is firmly in control.

Garland was criticized last year for his rapid deployment of a task force to investigate parents who were challenging the school board.

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The party in power investigating the opposing political party

Garland has folded when faced with clear demands. He didn't appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden.

Garland has taken the president's greatest threat off the table. A report detailing the Biden family's alleged influence peddling and foreign contacts would be published by a special counsel.

The Justice Department is conducting a grand jury investigation of the riot at the Capitol that is aggressively pursuing Trump associates and Republican figures. The integrity of America's elections, as well as the status of Biden's potential opponent in 2024, have been affected by that investigation.

The FBI gave Trump's message a boost.

Concerns have been raised over the investigation by the party in power. Garland sees no need for an independent or special counsel because of the deep divisions and distrust in this country.

Democrats often compare the Jan. 6 investigation to Watergate but fail to mention that the investigation was led by an independent counsel due to political conflicts.

The FBI searched the Mar-a-Lago resort. Garland did not help mitigate the political explosion by personally approving the operation. The FBI has a history of lying to courts and faking evidence in support of previous investigations.

Speculation and rage grew because there was no answer for days. Garland asked for the release of the warrant and inventory list when he responded Thursday.

The release of the FBI affidavit was a moment of total transparency. Garland wouldn't act further. The news media reported an array of leaks from the Justice Department, including the allegation that Trump took nuclear weapon secrets to Mar-a-Lago.

According to former prosecutors, the Justice Department wants to keep details of the affidavit confidential to protect the identities of sources.

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Garland is not primarily political

I don't think Garland is inherently political in comparison to predecessors.

Garland doesn't look like a driver on decisions in his own department. These choices didn't seem right for the moderate Garland. The department's recent move to circumvent a Trump clemency to prosecute a Florida nursing home operator did not happen.

The FBI and Justice Department have been accused of downplaying evidence in the Hunter Biden laptop case.

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The appointment of the special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit office to lead the Washington, D.C. office is concerning. The Department of Justice's decision to transfer Steven D'Antuono at this time is puzzling.

An attorney general can't ignore the fact that he can't ignore the fact that he can't ignore the fact that he can't ignore the fact that they undermine the integrity of his department. The search of Mar-a-Lago was a major political event. Garland knew that it would be seen as a political move by Republicans.

While resisting the release of the affidavit, Garland offered "trust us we're the government."

Scott Carey wondered what to do when he faced his diminished stature. Is it the infinitesimal? What was my name? It's a terrible question to ask an attorney general.

It isn't that Garland isn't there, but that his presence isn't as important as it used to be.

Jonathan Turley is a professor of public interest law at George Washington University. You can follow him on social media.

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The FBI Mara-a-Lago search was originally published on USA TODAY.