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

Merrick Garland is at risk of becoming the third attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress
FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland listens to a question while testifying during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Department of Justice, June 4, 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House is expected to vote on a resolution holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview in his classified documents case. The contempt action represents House Republicans’ latest and strongest rebuke of the Justice Department and of Garland’s leadership. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

In a razor-thin vote, the House has moved to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in criminal contempt of Congress, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions between congressional Republicans and the Justice Department. With a final tally of 208-207, the decision will place Garland among the few attorneys general in U.S. history to face such a sanction.

The core issue centers around the Justice Department’s reluctance to release audio tapes concerning Joe Biden’s dealings with classified documents. Spearheaded by Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY), Republicans argue that this refusal to comply fully with a congressional subpoena merits the contempt designation.

The subpoena is part of an ongoing push to uncover the interview audio from special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into whether any crimes were committed by Biden regarding his handling of classified materials. Despite Hur concluding his investigation without charging Biden, GOP lawmakers are pressing forward, intensifying their critique of the Justice Department’s actions under Garland’s leadership.

A contempt vote has been looming since last month when two committees forwarded a resolution to censure Garland.

The Biden Administration has repeatedly cited executive privilege in refusing to hand over the audio. Biden’s team also admitted to editing the interview transcripts that were provided to lawmakers in order to make the president appear more coherent. Garland has refused to hand over the audio, stating that transcripts of the interview prove that nothing relating to the House impeachment inquiry was discussed.

“I view contempt as a serious matter. But I will not jeopardize the ability of our prosecutors and agents to do their jobs effectively in future investigations,” he said while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee earlier last week.

Some Republicans had privately stated that they planned to vote against the measure according to a report from The Hill. The resolution for criminal contempt will likely be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Garland is unlikely to face contempt charges, however, as the move would send a criminal referral to his own office.

Even if it does not lead to criminal charges, the contempt vote is a significant mark against Garland’s record as Attorney General. It could influence not only his standing and effectiveness in the role but also his legacy. Few officials, including previous Attorneys General, have faced such charges.

In December of last year, the House Judiciary Committee issued the subpoena to Garland amidst ongoing concerns regarding the Justice Department’s use of law enforcement authority to access private communications of Congressional members and their staff. The Committee’s principal concern centered around the DOJ’s investigation into unauthorized disclosures of classified information, notably linked to the surveillance of former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.

Page has a background in finance and energy, having worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow, where he dealt with the Russian energy company Gazprom and its investment banking operations. His work and connections in Russia eventually drew the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies, leading to surveillance during the 2016 campaign.

Ben Collis is a freelance journalist for the Trending Politico covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
Ben Collis
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