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Friday, July 19, 2024

SHOCK: Garland Won’t Prosecute Himself for Exact Crime That Sent Navarro, Bannon to Jail

(Headline USA) In a surprise departure from his normal insistence that the Justice Department applies the law equally, without fear or favor and regardless of politics, Attorney General Merrick Garland has let himself off the hook for the very crime against which he previously prosecuted two top advisers to former President Donald Trump.

The decision to pursue prosecution in the cases of Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro was itself controversial, given the fact that nobody had been prosecuted for contempt of Congress in four decades and that serious questions surrounded both the legitimacy of the Jan. 6 committee that had subpoenaed them and its investigative reason for demanding their testimony.

The two both argued that their private counsel to then-President Donald Trump was protected under executive privilege and they had been instructed not to comply until a legal challenge working its way through the courts to resolve the matter had been fully addressed.

Ultimately, partisan Judge Tanya Chutkan determined that executive privilege did not apply under the circumstances.

Garland was cited for contempt of Congress in a 216-207 party-line vote by the House on Wednesday because his refusal to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview in his classified documents case as part of the ongoing House impeachment investigation.

But the attorney general’s surrogates at the Justice Department, under his direct supervision, claim that the refusal to comply with the congressional subpoena “did not constitute a crime.”

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Justice Department official brazenly cited the department’s longstanding policy not to prosecute for contempt of Congress officials who don’t comply with subpoenas because of a president’s claim of executive privilege.

On the last day to comply with the Republicans’ subpoena for the audio, the White House blocked the release by invoking executive privilege based on the moonshot legal theory that the audio might be manipulated using artificial intelligence.

Republicans have countered that the transcript provided earlier to them was likely manipulated and that the audio is the only way for Biden to prove that he did not either perjure himself in theinterview with special counsel Robert Hur or, worse yet, genuinely demonstrate that he is unfit to stand trial, which also would raise questions about his fitness to be president.

A coalition of media outlets has also sued to obtain the audio recordings under the Freedom of Information Act, further undermining the spurious basis for the White House claim that its lack of transparency served anything but its own political imperative.

Garland has vocally complained about the oversight efforts claiming he is the victim of persecution, despite ample evidence that he himself has weaponized the Justice Department against his political adversaries at every level—even going so far as to designate Trump supporters as their own special terrorist group at the FBI.

Bannon is expected to report to jail at the end of the month, while Navarro began serving a four-month sentence in March.

Asked recently about the distinction between the contempt charge for Garland and those that Democrats waged against their political adversaries, Johnson highlighted several key points of distinction, including the fact that the Jan. 6 committee has been exposed for efforts to cherry-pick information in order to reach partisan conclusions while concealing the actual truth from the public.

“I don’t think it was properly constituted,” Johnson said.

“I don’t think it was properly administered,” he added. “And we now know that, apparently, some of the evidence was hidden, and some maybe even destroyed. So you’ll see, you’ll hear much more about that in the days ahead.”

He noted that the House Judiciary Committee, which had led the effort to press the contempt charge against Garland, was not only a bastion of legitimacy, but that the investigation led by chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, had been painstakingly thorough and exceedingly prudent to avoid the predictable allegations that it was nothing more than a political witch hunt.

“You talk about apples to oranges, there couldn’t be a more clear contrast between that and what we’re talking about here,” Johnson said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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