Friday 14 June 2024

Sole Republican To Oppose Garland Contempt Explains Vote

 The only House Republican to oppose a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress in a clash over audio from the classified documents probe against President Joe Biden said, “Enough is enough,” after the vote on Wednesday.

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) broke ranks and joined 206 Democrats in voting against the measure designed to rebuke Garland for refusing to comply with two subpoenas. The resolution passed with the support of 216 Republicans. Eight others did not vote.

“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 explaining his vote. “The American people expect Congress to work for them, solve policy problems, and prioritize good governance. Enough is enough.”

The subpoenas demanded tapes of special counsel Robert Hur’s two-day interview with Biden and of the special counsel’s interview with Biden’s ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, after the release of a report describing Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

House Republicans managed to obtain transcripts of the interviews, but they said they still needed the audio to conduct oversight and pushed forward with contempt of Congress proceedings after Biden asserted executive privilege over the tapes. Democrats in the House have claimed the actions of their GOP colleagues are tainted by politics.

Garland, whose agency said that sharing the audio would impede future investigations and insisted the attorney general is shielded from prosecution because of privilege, said the House turned “a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”


He added in a statement, “Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees. I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

While it appears unlikely the Department of Justice under the Biden administration will take up a contempt of Congress case that could result in Garland facing up to a year of prison time and as much as $100,000 in fines, there may yet be steps taken by the GOP.

“If the DOJ has not indicted him by June 25, I will call a vote to hold him in inherent contempt of Congress, and he will be forced to produce the recordings or be held by the Sergeant at Arms,” warned Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) in a post to X.

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