House GOP Moves to Charge AG Garland with Contempt Over Biden Probe Docs

House Republicans are taking action against Attorney General Merrick Garland for his refusal to provide an unredacted audio of an interview from the special counsel’s examination into President Biden’s handling of classified documents. The House Judiciary Committee plans to meet on May 16 to move forward with contempt charges against Garland, marking another chapter in the strained relationship between Republicans and the Justice Department.

The dispute stems from the Justice Department’s withholding of audio recordings from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s interviews with President Biden, despite a congressional subpoena ordering their release. The Republican representatives leading the charge, Jim Jordan of Ohio and James Comer of Kentucky, argue that the audio is crucial for their oversight of the executive branch and are concerned about the precedent set if it is not provided.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte has suggested that the congressional interest in these records could be politically driven rather than for legitimate oversight or investigatory purposes. However, Comer has dismissed this reasoning, asserting that the Biden administration should not determine what Congress requires for its oversight responsibilities.

As the situation unfolds, a majority in the committee and the full House would need to support the contempt charges before the Justice Department receives a referral. It is unlikely that the department, under Garland’s leadership, would pursue prosecution if he were held in contempt.

This move recalls a similar situation in 2012 when then-Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by a GOP-controlled House. Notably, no action was taken against Holder by the Justice Department.

The special counsel’s investigation into President Biden’s retention of classified documents concluded with a 345-page report that highlighted concerns about the President’s age and mental competence but did not recommend criminal charges. Despite facing intense questioning from lawmakers, Hur stood by the findings of the report during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee in March.

Republicans argue that the Justice Department is applying a double standard by prosecuting former President Trump for his handling of classified documents, suggesting that the treatment of the two cases is politically motivated. However, they acknowledge significant differences between the two probes, particularly in the cooperation and actions of the individuals under investigation.

The contempt charges against Attorney General Garland illustrate the ongoing friction between Republicans and the Justice Department in their pursuit of information related to the special counsel’s investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Written by Staff Reports

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