House GOP jump-starts push to hold Garland in contempt of Congress

webnexttech | House GOP jump-starts push to hold Garland in contempt of Congress

The House will move forward this week with a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress, escalating a feud with the Justice Department days after a Manhattan jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of falsifying business records. House Republicans are set to consider the resolution, which would refer Garland for criminal prosecution to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, in the Rules Committee on Tuesday, nearly a month after it advanced to the House floor. A vote by the full House would then be held as soon as Wednesday. The vote to hold Garland in contempt comes after the top Justice Department official rejected a subpoena from House Republicans to provide access to audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur. The committee subpoenaed Garland for those tapes in February as part of an investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents. The DOJ has already published the full written transcripts of those interviews, arguing they are sufficient for Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Biden. The White House has also cited executive privilege. But top Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees have rejected the explanation, arguing the refusal “has hindered the House’s ability to adequately conduct oversight over Special Counsel Hur regarding his investigative findings and the President’s retention and disclosure of classified materials and impeded the Committees’ impeachment inquiry.” Biden faced a federal investigation over his handling of classified documents, but Hur decided not to charge him, arguing in part that a jury would find Biden to be a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” A vote to hold Garland in contempt will force Biden-district Republicans into an uncomfortable position in an election year. GOP leaders are dealing with a two-vote majority, meaning the margin of error will be slim as they bring the legislation to the floor. The dispute is also likely to be pursued in a lengthy court process that could extend well past the presidential election. The contempt resolution comes days after Garland appeared for a contentious hearing in which House Republicans accused his agency of orchestrating politically motivated investigations against Trump to hurt his election chances in November. Garland called the idea that his agency was involved in the Trump hush money case, a local prosecution, a “conspiracy theory.” The Justice Department has separately charged Trump over his own handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has responded to the Manhattan case, plus others by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Georgia and New York Attorney General Letitia James, by requesting fiscal 2025 funding cuts for “politicized prosecutions from state and local prosecutors engaged in lawfare.” Other GOP lawmakers have also called for the defunding of special counsel Jack Smith’s office, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has previously introduced legislation to cut off funding to his investigation into Trump.

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