NEW: DOJ Announces Decision On Merrick Garland's Contempt Of Congress Charge

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The Justice Department announced on Friday that it will not act on the House’s contempt referral of Attorney General Merrick Garland. This decision aligns with the DOJ’s longstanding position of not prosecuting executive branch officials who withhold information subject to executive privilege from Congress.

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, the DOJ’s top congressional liaison stated, “Consistent with this longstanding position and uniform practice, 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 House had recently held Garland in contempt in a mostly party-line vote, criticizing him for not turning over audio from President Joe Biden’s interview related to special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into classified documents. Republicans argued that access to these tapes would provide more information, transparency, and oversight regarding the investigation into a sitting president. However, the DOJ defended its decision to withhold the audio recordings, citing the need to protect the integrity of this and future investigations. Instead, the DOJ released transcripts of Biden’s interviews with Hur’s team.

Hur characterized Biden in the interviews as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Biden dismissed Hur’s report and the questions about his memory during a subsequent press conference, arguing that such commentary had no place in the report.

CNN has sued for access to the audio recordings, arguing that transcripts are not a substitute for the recordings themselves and that the public should be able to form their own conclusions about Hur’s characterization of Biden.

Following the House vote to hold him in contempt, Garland expressed disappointment, stating that Republicans had turned “a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

Source
Las Vegas News Magazine

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