AG Garland held in criminal contempt of Congress by Republicans after Biden blocked


House Judiciary Committee Republicans voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress on Thursday.

The vote came after President Biden asserted executive privilege over the audio tapes of his interview with ex-special counsel Robert Hur in a move to shield Garland from criminal charges.

Republicans have seized in a line in Hur’s report about the president’s mishandling of classified documents stating Biden appeared to be an ‘elderly man with a poor memory’ and wanted audio evidence. 

Garland lashed out at the move, saying earlier Thursday that the DOJ has gone to ‘extraordinary lengths’ to provide the committee with information. 

‘We have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that a committees get responses to their legitimate requests, but this is not one,’ Garland told reporters ahead of a hearing to advance his contempt charge. 

Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., shot back: ‘The White House is asserting privilege over the recordings, but it has already waived privilege by releasing the transcript of the interview. 

Republicans have seized in a line in Hur's report about the president's mishandling of classified documents stating Biden appeared to be an 'elderly man with a poor memory' and wanted audio evidence

Republicans have seized in a line in Hur’s report about the president’s mishandling of classified documents stating Biden appeared to be an ‘elderly man with a poor memory’ and wanted audio evidence

‘Today’s Hail Mary from the White House changes nothing for the committee.’ 

Both Oversight and Judiciary will hold Garland in contempt for their own separate subpoenas. 

The Oversight Committee will vote on holding Garland in contempt later Thursday evening. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also shut down Republicans.

‘The Attorney General made it clear that law enforcement files like these need to be protected. And so the president made his determination at the request of the Attorney General,’ she said Thursday during the press briefing.

Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan issued subpoenas to Garland for the audio of ex-special counsel Robert Hur‘s interview with Biden. They say Garland refused to comply with either subpoena, so both committees will move to hold him in contempt. 

‘There have been a series of unprecedented and frankly, unfounded attacks on the Justice Department. This request, this effort to use contempt as a method of obtaining our sensitive law enforcement files is just the most recent the effort to threaten to defund our investigations, and the way in which there are contributions through an atmosphere that puts our agents and our prosecutors at risk. These are wrong,’ Garland said on Thursday. 

The Justice Department says that it has been ‘extraordinarily’ accommodating to the Republicans’ requests for information. It has handed over a transcript of the interview, but not the recording itself. 

‘There must be consequences for refusing to comply with lawful congressional subpoenas and we will move to hold Attorney General Garland in contempt of Congress,’ Comer said in a statement to DailyMail.com Monday. 

‘These audio recordings are important to our investigation of President Biden’s willful retention of classified documents and his fitness to be President of the United States.’ 

A pair of Republican-led House committees will advance resolutions to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress on Thursday, DailyMail.com has learned

A pair of Republican-led House committees will advance resolutions to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress on Thursday, DailyMail.com has learned

President Biden has asserted executive privilege over the audio tapes of his interview with ex-special counsel Robert Hur in a move to shield Attorney General from criminal charges as Republicans move to hold him in contempt

President Biden has asserted executive privilege over the audio tapes of his interview with ex-special counsel Robert Hur in a move to shield Attorney General from criminal charges as Republicans move to hold him in contempt

Both Oversight Chairman James Comer (above) and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan issued subpoenas to Garland for the audio of ex-special counsel Robert Hur's interview with Biden

Both Oversight Chairman James Comer (above) and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan issued subpoenas to Garland for the audio of ex-special counsel Robert Hur’s interview with Biden

The attorney general had until April 8 to hand over requested materials from Robert Hur’s interviews with Biden that led him to conclude the president is ‘elderly’ and ‘well-meaning’ but has a ‘poor memory.’

They subpoenaed transcripts, notes, audio and video files largely related to Hur’s interview.

While the DOJ has handed over transcripts of Hur’s interviews with Biden as well as the transcripts of an interview with Biden’s ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer, Republicans are unsatisfied.

They have insisted they need audio from the Hur and Zwonitzer interviews too.

They said releasing audio as well might make it harder for prosecutors to secure recorded interviews in the future, with witnesses knowing they could be blasted out into the public.

‘The Committees have already received the extraordinary accommodation of the transcripts, which gives you the information you say you need,’ the letter, written by assistant attorney general Carlos Uriarte, read.

‘To go further by producing the audio files would compound the likelihood that future prosecutors will be unable to secure this level of cooperation. They might have a harder time obtaining consent to an interview at all. It is clearly not in the public interest to render such cooperation with prosecutors and investigators less likely in the future.’

The letter said that the Oversight and Judiciary committees have not identified any valid reasoning for needing the audio of the interview in addition to transcripts.

Still, the GOP disagreed.

Comer clapped back in a statement: ‘The Biden Administration does not get to determine what Congress needs and does not need for its oversight of the executive branch.’ 

Hur, in a report explaining his decision not to prosecute Biden over mishandling classified documents, sparked opposition from all sides – Republicans who questioned why he would not charge the president and Democrats who took issue with his description of Biden as a ‘sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’

‘The February 27 subpoenas create a legal obligation on you to produce this material,’ the GOP lawmakers wrote to Garland. ‘If you fail to do so, the Committees will consider taking further action, such as the invocation of contempt of Congress proceedings.’

The Justice Department has only said it is conducting an ‘interagency review’ for classified and confidential information within the material.

Hur said he found that Biden had ‘willfully’ retained classified material but stopped short of filing charges, believing a jury would not convict the president.

He explained his decision to make the assessment in the hearing: ‘I knew that for my position to be credible. I could not simply announce that there would be no charges, I needed to explain why. I needed to show my work.’

‘We identified evidence that the President willfully retained classified materials after the end of his vice presidency, when he was a private citizen,’ Hur said during a high-stakes hearing in April.

In interviews with investigators, Biden became muddled about the dates he was vice president and could not even remember the year in which his son Beau died, according to the transcript reviewed by DailyMail.com.

Biden forgot the year Beau died, when Trump was elected and said ‘I don’t recall’, ‘I don’t remember’ and ‘I have no goddamn idea’ more than 100 times while cracking jokes and making car noises with the investigators.

And it said his cavalier attitude to classified documents, such as his habit of reading sensitive files to a ghostwriter, posed a significant national security risk.

One of the reasons they decided not to press charges was because ‘at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’

This image, contained in the report from special counsel Robert Hur, shows a damaged box where classified documents were found in the garage of President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Del., during a search by the FBI on Dec. 21, 2022

This image, contained in the report from special counsel Robert Hur, shows a damaged box where classified documents were found in the garage of President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Del., during a search by the FBI on Dec. 21, 2022

Close-up shot of damaged box containing Biden's classified documents

Close-up shot of damaged box containing Biden’s classified documents 

This image, contained in the report from special counsel Robert Hur, shows notebooks in a file cabinet under a printer that were seized in first-floor home office of President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 20, 2023, during a search by FBI agents

This image, contained in the report from special counsel Robert Hur, shows notebooks in a file cabinet under a printer that were seized in first-floor home office of President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 20, 2023, during a search by FBI agents

Hur said during testimony that he described Biden this way because of his ‘inability to recall certain things’ and that he had to be prompted by his lawyers to recall certain dates.

According to transcripts of Hur’s interviews with Biden on October 8 and October 9, 2023, Biden’s lawyer had to tell him what year his son Beau died of brain cancer and the president joked about the special counsel finding pictures of his wife Jill in a swimsuit.

I just hope you didn’t find any risqué pictures of my wife in a bathing suit. Which you probably did. She’s beautiful,’ said Biden.

‘What month did Beau die?’ Biden mused at one point, adding, ‘Oh God, May 30th.’

‘He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him,’ Hur said.

A White House lawyer then chimed in with the year, 2015.

‘Was it 2015 he died?’ Biden asked.



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