April 14, 2024
House GOP Threatens Garland w/ Contempt If He Doesn’t Deliver Biden Recordings

House GOP Threatens Garland w/ Contempt If He Doesn’t Deliver Biden Recordings

(Headline USA) House Republicans threatened this week to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress if he does not turn over the audio recording of special counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden.

Garland would follow two of his recent predecessors—Obama “wingman” Eric Holder and Trump turncoat William Barr—in being conferred with the dubious but otherwise toothless distinction, since the decision ultimately would lie with Garland’s Justice Department over whether to prosecute it.

In 2012, Holder was held in contempt for refusing to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal. And in 2019, Barr was held in contempt for refusing to share documents on attempts to change the 2020 Census. Neither opted to prosecute.

It is possible—albeit unlikely—that if another attorney general were to assume office next year, he might revisit the criminal referral. Doing so might trigger an unending sequence of retaliation with every new administration seeking to punish the last.

Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Oversight Committee chairman James Comer, R-Ky., subpoenaed the audio last month, along with the written transcript of Hur’s interview, as part of their impeachment inquiry into whether Biden abused his power when he was vice president to help his family score lucrative business deals.

The Justice Department released the transcript of Hur’s interview, but has still not delivered the audio recording to lawmakers, the committees said.

“The Department continues to withhold additional material responsive to the Committees’ subpoenas — specifically the audio recordings of Special Counsel Hur’s interviews with President Biden and the transcript and audio recordings of Special Counsel Hur’s interviews with Mr. Zwonitzer,” Jordan and Comer wrote in a letter to Garland.

“[T]he Committees expect you to produce all responsive materials no later than 12:00 p.m. on April 8, 2024,” they added. “If you fail to do so, the Committees will consider taking further action, such as the invocation of contempt of Congress proceedings.”

The lawmakers were referring to ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer, who used classified information given to him by Biden to help Biden write a book, and who admitted to deleting recordings of Biden discussing the sensitive information after learning of Hur’s inquiry.

The transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden confirmed Hur’s findings that Biden had a “poor memory” and that he willfully retained classified information. However, Hur defended his decision not to press charges against Biden during his testimony before Congress this month, though he did note that he did not “exonerate” the president.

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