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Tags: merrick garland | contempt | congress | gop

AG Garland: GOP Uses Contempt Vote as Political Weapon

By    |   Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:38 PM EDT

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday the vote to hold him in contempt of Congress by House Republicans was being used as a "partisan weapon."

All but one Republican — Rep. David Joyce of Ohio — voted to hold Garland in contempt with no Democrat support as the resolution passed 216-207. Garland was held in contempt for defying subpoenas requesting audio recordings of special counsel Robert Hur's interviews with President Joe Biden and his ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer, plus other documents.

"It is deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon," Garland said in a statement released after the vote, The Hill reported. "Today's vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department's need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees.

"I will always stand up for this department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy."

Garland, the third attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress after Eric Holder in 2012 and Bill Barr in 2019, told the Judiciary Committee on June 4 the request for the audio recordings has "no legitimate purpose," given the Department of Justice distributed transcripts of the interviews. Biden gave further legal cover to the DOJ by claiming executive privilege.

"Even if the privilege were valid, which is it not, it certainly has been overcome here, as the Committee has demonstrated a sufficient need for the audio recordings as they are likely to contain evidence important to the Committee's inquiry, and the audio recordings sought cannot be obtained any other way," stated an Oversight Committee report given to the Rules Committee in advance of a Tuesday hearing.

"The audio recordings are uniquely in the possession of the Justice Department. Further, President Biden has already waived any potential assertion of executive privilege over the information discussed in his interviews with special counsel Hur. This conclusion is consistent with U.S. v. Mitchell, which concluded that 'the privilege claimed [was] nonexistent since the conversations are ... no longer confidential.'

"Moreover, the Justice Department could have taken steps to protect the confidentiality of the transcripts but failed to do so when they released them to the press prior to providing them to the Committee."

The contempt vote is largely symbolic, acting as a referral to the DOJ for possible prosecution, and it's highly unlikely the DOJ will prosecute Garland. In the previous two instances, the DOJ declined to prosecute Holder and Barr.

Garland wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Tuesday that Republicans have gone beyond legitimate oversight of his department to embrace "baseless, personal and dangerous" attacks.

"Continued unfounded attacks against the Justice Department's employees are dangerous for people's safety," he wrote. "They are dangerous for our democracy. This must stop."

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday the vote to hold him in contempt of Congress by House Republicans was being used as a "partisan weapon."
merrick garland, contempt, congress, gop
Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:38 PM
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