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JUST IN: House Votes To Hold Attorney General Merrick Garland In Contempt Of Congress

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for withholding audio recordings related to Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Garland defied subpoenas from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees demanding he turn over recordings from Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

“The vote was 216-207, with one Republican, Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, joining all Democrats in voting no. Seven Democrats and one Republican did not vote,” NBC News reports.

“This week, Attorney General Merrick Garland will be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena. We cannot allow the Department of Justice to hide information from Congress,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said.


NBC News reports:

At issue was Garland’s failure to hand over audio of special counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden about his handling of classified documents. Republicans had demanded the audio after Hur declined to prosecute Biden, in part, because a jury might sympathize with him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

Democrats countered that the full transcript of the Biden interview has already been released to the public, and they sounded warnings that Republicans could manipulate the audio.

Despite the successful contempt vote, it’s largely a political exercise. Biden and his administration have asserted executive privilege in refusing to hand over the audio, all but eliminating the possibility that Garland would be prosecuted for ignoring the subpoenas. It’s also unheard of for Justice Department prosecutors to go after the head of their agency over a contempt issue.

Last month, both the House Judiciary and Oversight committees approved a report recommending that the House hold Garland in contempt for defying congressional subpoenas pertaining to the audio recording.

“If the White House has nothing to hide they’d release the tape of Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Hur. Let’s be clear: It’s not Merrick Garland’s decision to release it or not. It’s a legitimate Congressional subpoena. He must comply. The House will hold him in contempt,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said.

“It is deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon,” Garland said in a statement, according to CBS News.

Per CBS News:

A House Judiciary Committee report argued the audio recordings of the interviews are of “superior evidentiary value” because the transcripts the Justice Department provided Congress “do not reflect important verbal context, such as tone or tenor, or nonverbal context, such as pauses or pace of delivery.” It also asserts the transcripts are “insufficient to arbitrate this dispute as to President Biden’s mental state.”

Hur, who was appointed by Garland, released a 345-page report in February that outlined Mr. Biden’s handling of classified documents that he kept after serving as vice president. Hur declined to seek criminal charges, saying the evidence did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Biden violated the law. The special counsel made a number of observations about the president’s memory that enraged the White House and provided political leverage to Republicans.

“We know we’re entitled to all the evidence and the best evidence, and the transcripts alone are not sufficient evidence of the state of the president’s memory,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday.

Republicans say executive privilege was waived when the Justice Department turned over the transcripts, and also claim the transcripts have been altered.

The Justice Department has argued disclosure of the recordings could have a chilling effect on witness cooperation in future high-profile investigations.

This is a Guest Post from our friends over at 100 Percent Fed Up.

View the original article here.


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