House GOP Preparing Contempt Resolution Against Garland for Refusing To Turn Over Audio of Biden’s Interview With Special Counsel

The committees will hold parallel meetings on Thursday to move the contempt resolution forward.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Attorney General Garland during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, September 20, 2023, on Capitol Hill. AP/Jacquelyn Martin

Two powerful House committees will consider resolutions this week holding Attorney General Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the audio recordings of President Biden’s and his ghostwriter’s interviews with Special Counsel Robert Hur, who investigated the president for potential criminal activity in his retention of classified documents. 

“The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees issued lawful subpoenas to Attorney General Garland for the audio recordings of President Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Hur, yet he continues to defy our subpoenas,” the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer, said in a statement. “These audio recordings are important to our investigation of President Biden’s willful retention of classified documents and his fitness to be President of the United States. There must be consequences for refusing to comply.”

Mr. Hur released his report to Congress in February after finding that the president had, in fact, improperly taken and retained classified information at his home in Delaware and at his offices in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. 

The special counsel determined, however, that the president would not be convicted by a jury of his peers for those violations because he would present himself as “an elderly man with a poor memory,” just as he did in an interview with the special counsel’s team. 

“It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” Mr. Hur wrote. 

Mr. Comer and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan, will hold parallel meetings of their respective committees on Thursday to move the contempt resolution forward. The resolution states that Mr. Garland is held in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena. 

The Justice Department has turned over a transcript of the interviews with both Mr. Biden and his ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, who was granted access to classified information about Obama-era policies related to Afghanistan. The Justice Department said, however, that it would not turn over the audio recordings. 

“Our efforts at cooperation prove that we are, and continue to be, willing to do our part to show the American people that the officials who serve them can work together productively,” the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, Carlos Uriarte, wrote in April. 

Mr. Uriarte wrote that the “escalation and threats of criminal contempt” will not lead to a release of the interview audio. “We are therefore concerned that the Committees are disappointed not because you didn’t receive information, but because you did. We urge the Committees to avoid conflict rather than seek it,” he said.

The New York Sun

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