Speaker Johnson confident expected AG Garland contempt vote will pass in House

The House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, is expected to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt.

The vote is scheduled to take place on Wednesday regarding Garland’s lack of cooperation in handing over the audio of Special Council Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden. Republicans have repeatedly demanded to have access to the audio after Hur suggested that prosecution of the president over his handling of classified documents would fail to yield any result because a jury would likely sympathize with an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

In May, both the House Oversight and Judiciary committees recommended taking steps to hold Garland in contempt over his refusal to comply with subpoenas for the audio. Instead, the AG accused Republicans of trying to “serve political purposes that should have no role in the treatment of law enforcement files.”

Rep. James Comer, the Oversight Committee chairman, told the Rules Committee that this is a basic case of some branches of government feeling like they’re above the law.

“This is not a complicated matter: The executive branch and its agencies, including the Department of Justice, are not above Congress’ right to oversee those agencies,” he said. “We, as members of the House of Representatives, have a duty to ensure congressional subpoenas are fully complied with by those who received them — people, companies, and particularly the federal government.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) advocated a “three-prong approach” to what he called a “two-tiered system of justice” at a news conference, adding: “And in pursuit of that, “I do think the contempt of Merrick Garland will pass on the floor and we’re anxious to have that happen.”

While the GOP maintains that the audio will provide important context to the interview, Democrats are dismissing the demand. They argue that the transcript has already been released and thus there is no pressing reason for the audio to be subpoenaed.

“What do our Republican friends do when an investigation turns up short? Simply put, they engage in fantasy. That’s what they’re doing here today. Unable to come up with any wrongdoing by the president, they have now trained their sights on the attorney general,” scoffed Rep. Jerry Nadler. “This isn’t really about a policy disagreement with the DOJ. This is about feeding the MAGA base after 18 months of investigations that have produced failure after failure. This contempt resolution will do very little other than smear the reputation of Merrick Garland, who will remain a good and decent public servant no matter what Republicans say about him today.”

Sierra Marlee


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