Anna Paulina Luna to Force Vote and Bring Garland Before the House

( – Attorney General Merrick Garland is under fire for refusing to turn over audio of an interview with President Biden to a House committee. A Republican congresswoman is planning a vote to hold him in contempt. The move could end with the AG being arrested by the House.

DOJ Frustrates House

Earlier this year the House Judiciary and Oversight committees launched an investigation into special counsel Robert Hur’s decision not to charge President Biden with any offenses over his mishandling of classified documents. The transcript of Biden’s interview with Hur has been made public, and it was explosive — Hur said Biden could easily avoid prosecution by presenting himself as “an elderly man with a poor memory.”

However, investigators wanted to hear the audio of the interview to evaluate just how mentally impaired the president appeared to be. They ordered the Justice Department to hand over all the records of Hur’s investigation; the Justice Department refused. A subpoena demanding the audio was issued; the Justice Department failed to comply.

Finally, when the subpoena deadline arrived, the White House cited executive privilege and blocked the release of the audio. Executive privilege is supposed to allow the president to protect their decision-making process; as the transcript has already been released, this obviously isn’t the reason here.

Committees Focus on Garland

On June 12, the House voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress over his defiance of the subpoenas. However, the Justice Department — unsurprisingly — decided its boss hadn’t committed a crime and it wasn’t going to prosecute. In other words, it’s ignoring the House’s contempt vote.

Now, Representative Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) is trying a different approach. On June 23 she told fellow House Republicans that she plans to bring a resolution holding Garland in inherent contempt of Congress. The June 12 vote held Garland in criminal contempt, leaving it up to the Justice Department to bring him to trial. It won’t. If he’s found guilty of inherent contempt, however, the House itself will try him — and if it finds him guilty he can be detained in the Capitol or elsewhere in Washington, DC, under the authority of the House Sergeant at Arms.

The last time the House held someone in inherent contempt was in 1934 when it locked up lawyer William McCracken for ten days after he failed to comply with a subpoena. Now Luna has sent a letter to GOP representatives arguing that the procedure is the only way to make Garland comply, and adding that House subpoenas will lose their power if the Justice Department gets to decide whether they’re enforced or not. Luna is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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