BY Staff WritersMay 17, 2024
1 month ago
BY 
 | May 17, 2024
1 month ago

House Committee Votes To Contemn AG Garland In Biden Inquiry

The House Judiciary Committee has escalated its conflict with the Biden administration by passing a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

This sharp action stems from Garland's refusal to release specific audio recordings linked to President Joe Biden. The committee's decision is pivotal in the ongoing impeachment inquiry focusing on President Biden's family business associations.

Breitbart News reported that a final subpoena in April directed Garland to make these recordings public. Nevertheless, Garland has withheld compliance, citing significant privacy and legal concerns over the material involving high-profile investigations.

Attorney General Garland expressed his concerns regarding the release. He stated that making the audio public "would raise an unacceptable risk" of compromising ongoing and future high-profile criminal investigations. This includes scenarios where voluntary cooperation from White House officials is critical.

Chronology of The Investigation and Subpoena

Special counsel Robert Hur concluded his investigation into President Biden this past February. His findings were that while Biden had willfully retained classified documents, there wasn’t enough evidence to recommend prosecution.

Hur depicted President Biden as an "elderly man with poor memory," a claim underscored by Biden's multiple memory lapses during his interview.

Despite these findings, Garland faced increased pressure from Congress to release the interview's audio recordings. The situation reached a critical point when President Biden invoked executive privilege just before the House's scheduled contempt meeting to block the release of the recordings.

This action, endorsed by the Department of Justice, was framed as necessary to protect the integrity of similar ongoing investigations. This stance represented a pivot from the White House's earlier non-assertion of executive privilege during the broader investigation into Biden’s document handling.

Reactions From Political Figures and Analysts

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, highlighted the significance of moving forward with the resolution.

He announced, “[We] will move forward with its markup of a resolution and report recommending to the House of Representatives that Attorney General Garland be held in contempt of Congress for defying a lawful subpoena."

White House spokesman Ian Sams responded to criticisms, reaffirming President Biden's transparency throughout the proceedings by stating Biden had "nothing to hide."

However, sentiments on the other side of the political aisle are starkly different. Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, accused Biden of “politicizing the key constitutional tenet of executive privilege” for self-protection while denying it to political adversaries.

According to the House Judiciary Committee's decision, if the full House supports the resolution, Garland will join the ranks of former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Bill Barr, who have previously been held in contempt of Congress under similar contentious circumstances.

The Debate Over Executive Privilege and Congressional Oversight

The debate concerning executive privilege and its implications continues to be a dominant theme in this saga. Critics argue that this move might set a precedent affecting future administrations’ interactions with Congress.

Despite previous claims of transparency by the Biden administration, the current stance on executive privilege has frustrated many lawmakers, pushing them to consider drastic measures such as a contempt citation to enforce compliance with congressional subpoenas.

This development occurs amidst broader discussions about the limits and scope of executive power, particularly when weighed against Congressional oversight responsibilities.

In conclusion, the House Judiciary Committee’s resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress marks a significant development in the ongoing legislative scrutiny of President Biden’s administration.

This decision stems from Garland’s non-disclosure of crucial audio recordings, an action influenced heavily by claims of executive privilege and the potential impact on other significant investigations. The full House must now decide whether to support the committee’s recommendation, potentially guiding future interactions between the executive branch and Congressional oversight.

Written by: Staff Writers

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