Wednesday, July 24, 2024

DOJ Declines to Prosecute Merrick Garland After House Holds Him in Contempt of Congress

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before the
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that it was declining to prosecute Attorney General Merrick Garland after the House of Representatives voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress concerning his refusal to comply with Congressional subpoenas.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Friday, Carlos Felipe Uriarte, the Assistant Attorney General, explained that President Joe Biden had “asserted executive privilege and directed” Garland not to “release materials” that were subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House Judiciary Committee in February, according to CNN.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 216 to 207 to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for not complying with subpoenas for “records, including transcripts, notes, video, and audio files,” relating to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation of Biden’s “willful mishandling of classified information,” according to a press release from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

“That directive was based on a legal opinion from the Department of Justice (Department) advising that asserting privilege would be legally proper,” the DOJ wrote. “The President’s directive was issued after the Department produced materials responsive to all four requests in the Committee’s subpoenas. The Department provided Special Counsel Hur’s report without any additional redactions and facilitated his congressional testimony.”

As Breitbart News previously reported, the “audio tapes of Hur’s interview with Biden” were requested due to the fact that Garland “only provided written transcripts” that were deemed “insufficient” after a transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden showed he had “poor memory.”

The transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden showed that the president could not remember the date his son Beau had died or even when he had served as vice president.

Most importantly, Republicans wanted the audio tapes of Hur’s interview with Biden. Garland had only provided written transcripts, which Republicans said were insufficient after Hur revealed that Biden experienced mental lapses and “poor memory” during his interview.

In February, Hur concluded his investigation of Biden’s handling of classified information, and revealed in a report that he would not be prosecuting Biden due to him being an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

“The longstanding position of the Department is that we will not prosecute an official for contempt of Congress for declining to provide subpoenaed information subject to a presidential assertion of executive privilege,” the letter continued.

In 2019, then-Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were held in contempt of Congress after they refused to comply with a congressional subpoena.

The response from the DOJ regarding Garland being held in contempt of Congress comes as Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist for former President Donald Trump, had been ordered to report to prison on July 1 for a four-month sentence after he defied a subpoena from the Democrat-run House committee that was investigating the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Trump ally Steve Bannon surrenders to New York authorities

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 08: (—-EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT – “STEVEN HIRSCH / POOL” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS—-) Steve Bannon, former adviser to Donald Trump, attends his arraignment at the New York Criminal Courthouse in New York, US, on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. The charges facing Trump’s former chief strategist and senior campaign official have yet to be unsealed, but are likely tied to a state fraud investigation related to his fundraising activities for a wall along the US-Mexico border. Charges likely relate to allegations that he defrauded “We Build The Wall” donors. (Photo by Steven Hirsch / Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Bannon was convicted by a jury in 2022, and given a four-month prison sentence. This was later placed on hold while Bannon appealed the decision and in May, an appeals court upheld his conviction.

“The Department has determined that the responses by Attorney General Garland to the subpoenas issued by the Committees did not constitute a crime, and accordingly the Department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the Attorney General,” the DOJ’s letter adds.

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