House Holds Attorney General Merrick Garland in Contempt of Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before the
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas.

The vote easily cleared, given House Republicans’ thin margins, in a 216 to 207 vote after a day of deliberation.

The House Committees on Oversight and Accountability and Judiciary issued subpoenas to Garland on February 27, 2024, for records related to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation of President Joe Biden’s willful mishandling of classified information.

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.

“The attorney general is not exempt from Congressional oversight,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said in a statement. “The White House has a long history of editing Biden’s transcripts to cover up his embarrassing moments on stage; they have acknowledged that these transcripts from the special counsel’s interview with Biden have been edited.”

“We need the source material, and if the DOJ refuses to comply with the subpoena, they are in contempt of Congress.”

The House vote comes the same day the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) argued in a memo that Garland would be protected from prosecution for contempt of Congress because Biden has declared executive privilege over the tapes.

Biden asserted executive privilege over the recordings on May 16, 2024, before the Judiciary and Oversight Committees marked up their contempt resolutions.

One Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), was not on board with holding Garland in contempt.

“As a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points,” Joyce said in a statement. “The American people expect Congress to work for them, solve policy problems, and prioritize good governance. Enough is enough.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) disagreed, saying in a detailed post on X that “it is up to Congress, not the Executive Branch, to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations.”

Jordan continued, “Any claim of executive privilege was waived when the Executive Branch released the transcript of the interview to the press.”

The House vote comes as former President Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon is fighting a judge’s ruling that he must report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for defying a subpoena from former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) January 6 committee, which has been disbanded.

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.