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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Absentee Republicans Sink Resolution to Impose Fine on Contemptuous AG Garland

'No one is above the law. This is not a decision that we have reached lightly, but the actions of the attorney general cannot be ignored...'

(Headline USA) An “inherent contempt” resolution drafted by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., to impose actual accountability on corrupt Attorney General Merrick Garland, failed Thursdy after several House Republicans missed the vote.

Despite the disappointment, Luna remained optimistic, noting the broad support for her effort among fellow Republicans.

An overwhelming majority of the party supports this resolution, and it already survived multiple kill-shot attempts by Democrats,” she said in a statement posted on X.  

“Our efforts have not been futile, and I thank all the Members who have been fighting alongside me to restore justice and order in our institutions,” she added. “I have refiled the resolution and will be calling it up again in a couple of weeks when Congress is back in session and Members return.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said lawmakers would continue using other tools to obtain the audio recording.

“We expected it to pass, but we’ve been very aggressive on enforcing the subpoena against Merrick Garland and seeking to hold him accountable,” he told the Associated Press after the vote. “We are using every tool in the arsenal to ensure that he follows the law and that we can complete our constitutional responsibility.”

Luna’s proposal sought to fine $10,000 a day until he turned over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur in his classified documents case.

Although prosecuting a sitting president undoubtedly would have created other complications, Hur cited the interview as his main reason for opting not to seek charges against Biden, saying his mental state made him appear unfit to stand trial.

Garland, who released a written transcript of the interview, was previously held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to release the audio recordings. However, his Justice Department opted not to prosecute, claiming he was protected by executive privilege.

“No one is above the law,” Luna said during the debate that preceded the vote on the resolution. “This is not a decision that we have reached lightly, but the actions of the attorney general cannot be ignored.”

White House lawyers used the flimsy pretense that they feared release of the audio might be doctored using artificial intelligence and manipulated to make Biden look bad.

Nonetheless, the president’s implosion in a recent debate may have changed the dynamics, shifting the mood among media and many Democrats who had been laying cover for him.

While there is growing acceptance of Biden’s mental infirmities, no Democrats voted in support of the measure, and four Republicans voted against it in the 204-210 defeat.

Based on an earlier Tuesday night vote, they are likely to have been Reps. John Duarte and Tom McClintock of California, and Reps. Dave Joyce and Mike Turner of Ohio.

Garland’s impunity chafed many on the Right in particular due to its parallels with the matter involving Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, both of whom went to prison after ignoring subpoenas in Democrats’ partisan Jan. 6 commission while citing executive privilege. Critics have said the committee itself was illegitimately formed and that its work was invalid due to countless procedural violations.

Luna herself compared Garland’s abuses to another double standard in the long continuum of two-tiered justice enacted by deep-state Democrats against Republicans. She noted that his actions were precisely those that had been the focus of the 1970s-era Watergate hearings, which ultimately forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Appropriately enough, Garland’s alteration of transcripts likewise stem from an impeachment investigation into the sitting president.

Democrats blasted the GOP effort as a political stunt. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., claimed that the resolution was unjustified in the case of Garland because he had complied with subpoena.

“Their frustration is that they can’t get their hands on an audio recording that they think they could turn into an RNC attack ad,” McGovern said in reference to the Republican National Committee. “When you start making a mockery of things like inherent contempt, you diminish this institution.”

Garland himself has insisted Justice Department went to extraordinary lengths to provide information to the committees about Hur’s classified documents investigation, including the transcript of Biden’s interview. However, Garland has said releasing the audio could jeopardize future sensitive investigations because witnesses might be less likely to cooperate if they know their interviews might become public.

House Republicans sued Garland earlier this month in an attempt to force the release of the recording.

Republicans have accused Biden of suppressing the recording because he’s afraid to have voters hear it during an election year.

The congressional inquiry began with the release of Hur’s report in February, which found evidence that Biden willfully retained and shared highly classified information when he was a private citizen.

Beyond the bitingly critical assessment of Biden’s handling of sensitive government records, Hur offered unflattering characterizations of the Democratic president’s memory in his report, sparking fresh questions about his competency and age that cut at voters’ most deep-seated concerns about the 81-year-old seeking a second term.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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