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Attorney General Merrick Garland tests positive for COVID-19

Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Garland, 69, has no symptoms, but took an antigen test Wednesday afternoon after learning he may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the department said.

“According to [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, the Attorney General will self-isolate for at least five days,” the DOJ said. “He will work virtually during this time and return to the office after testing negative for the virus.”

Garland, who is vaccinated against COVID-19 and received a booster dose, was the second member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to test positive for the virus on Wednesday. Earlier, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo revealed her own diagnosis after “experiencing mild symptoms”. She is also vaccinated and boosted.

Raimondo and Garland were in attendance last Saturday night at the politician-packed Gridiron dinner in Washington, DC, an event that has now been linked to multiple cases. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-California) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who both attended the party, tested positive. About half a dozen reporters and White House and National Security Council staff have also tested positive since the event, The Washington Post reported.

Biden, who has so far managed to avoid catching COVID-19 despite his close contact with people who have throughout his presidency, was not present at the dinner.

Before testing positive, Garland held a press conference Wednesday morning to share that the DOJ is part of an international effort to investigate possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and that the department has charged a Russian oligarch for violating the sanctions.

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