‘Are you kidding me?’ Judge slams DOJ for ignoring impeachment subpoenas while Trump aide sits in jail

A recent Biden-appointed judge slammed the Biden Department of Justice on Friday for ignoring Hunter Biden-related subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee.

U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes, who was confirmed last year, argued that it was a sign of rank hypocrisy for the DOJ to blow off the subpoenas given that one of former President Donald Trump’s ex-aides, Peter Navarro, is currently in prison for also ignoring subpoenas.

“There’s a person in jail right now because you all brought a criminal lawsuit against him because he did not appear for a House subpoena. And now you guys are flouting those subpoenas. … And you don’t have to show up?” she asked, according to Politico.

“I think it’s quite rich you guys pursue criminal investigations and put people in jail for not showing up [but then order your own employees to also not show up]. You all are making a bunch of arguments that you would never accept from any other litigant,” she added.

“The rules apply to you all too,” she went on to say.

The stunning dress down by Judge Reyes came two weeks after the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee filed a suit demanding that DOJ attorneys Mark Daly and Jack Morgan appear for a deposition.

The committee claimed that the two were present at a DOJ meeting in June 2022 during which crucial decisions relating to the prosecution of President Joe Biden’s eldest son, Hunter, were made.

Present at the meeting was Gary Shapley, an IRS whistleblower who later told Congress that Daly and Morgan had opposed bringing charges against Biden.

Republicans in Congress want to know why, though Reyes’ dress down doesn’t mean they’ll find out — because while it’s true she slammed the DOJ for ignoring the committee’s subpoenas, she also admitted that even if the lawyers do show up, they won’t have to answer anything.

“Reyes seemed inclined to support DOJ’s central argument that the line attorneys cannot be compelled to answer substantive questions from Congress,” Politico explained. “They just need to show up and assert privileges on a question-by-question basis, she said.”

Speaking of which, Reyes also dismissed the House Judiciary Committee’s claim that the two attorneys aren’t entitled to attorney-client privilege, saying, “I don’t think you’re going to win that fight.”

But, she stressed, none of this means the lawyers can just skip out on the subpoenas altogether.

“I imagine that there are hundreds, if not thousands of defense attorneys … who would be happy to hear that DOJ’s position is, if you don’t agree with a subpoena, if you believe it’s unconstitutional or unlawful, you can unilaterally not show up,” she said.

Elsewhere during Friday’s hearing, DOJ attorney James Gilligan argued that there’s a difference between Daly and Morgan, both current DOJ employees, and Navarro, who’s no longer in government. However, Reyes was unimpressed with this argument.

The judge also “downplayed the significance of a Trump-era Office of Legal Counsel opinion contending that executive branch employees could defy such subpoenas if Justice Department lawyers were not allowed to be present,” according to Politico.

“Last time I checked, the Office of Legal Counsel was not the court,” she said.

And lastly, Reyes was caught off guard when Gilligan reportedly refused to agree to Daly and Morgan showing up to be deposed if the House dropped its requirement that DOJ lawyers not be present.

“It would be a different situation,” he said. “I cannot answer that now.”

“Are you kidding me?” the judge responded.

Concluding the hearing, Reyes ordered the Judiciary Committee’s general counsel, Matthew Berry, to work with Gilligan toward coming up with some sort of deposition deal.

“And she said that if the two sides did not work out a deal, she planned to require them to estimate the total cost to the taxpayers of continuing the legal fight, which past precedent suggests could drag out for years,” according to Politico.

“I don’t think the taxpayers want to fund a grudge match between the executive and the legislative,” she said. “Bad cases make bad law. … This is a bad, bad case for both of you.”

Vivek Saxena

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