House Republicans Vote to Pursue Contempt Charges Against Merrick Garland

The House Judiciary Committee, which is led by Republicans, voted on Thursday to move forward with a resolution that accuses Attorney General Merrick Garland of contempt. This is because Garland has refused to hand over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 18-15 to move forward with the proceedings. The resolution sets the stage for a vote in the full House on holding Garland in contempt. However, it is not clear when that vote will happen.

The House Oversight Committee is expected to make a decision on the issue on Thursday evening. President Biden has decided to use executive privilege to prevent House Republicans from accessing the audio recordings of his interview with Hur. The interview discussed how he handled classified documents.

The White House and the Justice Department sent letters to the House, informing them of President Biden’s decision. Deputy Attorney General Carlos Uriarte explained that this decision prevents Republican lawmakers from holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

“The attorney general needs to establish boundaries that protect the Department from inappropriate political influence and ensure that our principles, law enforcement work, and the people who carry out that work can do so independently and without bias,” Uriarte wrote. “The committees want to hold the attorney general in contempt, not because he failed in his duties, but because he fulfilled them.”

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Biden had previously given up his right to keep certain information confidential in order to prevent the release of the transcripts of his interview with Hur and other details of the report.

The decision to use the privilege, as requested by Garland, happened shortly before the House Oversight Committee was about to start the process of holding Garland in contempt for not sharing the audio recordings.

“The Committees’ needs are clearly not enough to outweigh the harmful impact that releasing the recordings would have on future law enforcement investigations,” Garland wrote to Biden on Wednesday.

The White House Counsel, Edward Siskel, wrote a letter to Rep. James Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan, expressing concern about the House’s plan to initiate contempt proceedings against Garland. Siskel believes that this action could compromise the independence of the Justice Department.

“Instead of showing respect for the rule of law, this contempt proceeding is just the most recent attempt by the Committees to harm the independence and fairness of the Department of Justice and the criminal justice system that President Biden wants to safeguard,” Siskel wrote.

“Your lack of a valid reason for wanting the audio recordings suggests that you may intend to manipulate and use them for biased political reasons.” Asking the Executive Branch to hand over sensitive law enforcement materials in order to use them for political gain is not appropriate, especially when those materials are protected by the constitution.

Special Counsel Hur chose not to press charges against Biden for having classified documents while Biden was not in office.

In his report, Hur stated that he chose not to charge Biden, but discovered that the president intentionally kept and shared classified information after leaving the vice presidency.

In the report, Hur described Biden as an older man who means well but has trouble remembering things. Biden strongly disagreed with that description. “I have good intentions,” Biden said. “And I am an older man. And I am confident in my abilities. I don’t require his endorsement.

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