House Committees Vote to Hold Garland in Contempt

The United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

( – On Thursday, two House committees voted that Attorney General Merrick Garland should be held in contempt of Congress after he refused to hand over the audio recordings from the interview of President Joe Biden with Special Counsel Robert Hur. 

President Biden made a last-minute decision to state that the audio recordings are being protected by executive privilege, however, that has not stopped the Republicans from moving ahead with the proceedings. Garland himself has argued that the privilege meant that he “cannot be” held in contempt of Congress. 

The House Oversight Committee in a 24-20 party line vote and the House Judiciary Committee in a 18-15 party line vote passed the measure. The panel had previously moved the hearing to 8 p.m. which allowed some GOP lawmakers to travel to New York City where they could attend the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump. 

The transcripts from the conversation between Biden and Hur have already been handed over, still, the GOP has argued that the audio recordings would be more revealing as they would provide insight into Hur’s reasoning for assessing the cognitive function of President Biden. However, the Democrats have argued that the only reason why the Republicans would be looking to get access to those tapes is because they would want to use them in campaign commercials. They have maintained that the lawmakers would misuse the power simply for political gain. 

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C) has argued that transcripts cannot convey any disfluencies, or the times of answers and questions, or provide any demeanor evidence. 

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