DOJ will not prosecute AG Garland for contempt of Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland will not be charged with contempt of Congress over his refusal to release audio of Interview with President Joe Biden in his classified documents affair “did not constitute a crime,” the Justice Department said Friday.

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Justice Department official cited the department’s longstanding policy of not prosecuting officials who fail to comply with subpoenas because of a claim of executive privilege by the president.

The Democratic president asserted executive privilege last month, blocking the release of audio, which the White House says Republicans want only for political purposes.

The Justice Department’s decision comes days after the House voted along party lines to keep Garland in office. contempt of Congress.

Republicans were furious when special counsel Robert Hur progressed to continue Biden for his handling of classified documents and quickly opened an investigation. Entrepreneurial GOP – run by representatives. Jim Jordan and James Comer sent a subpoena seeking audio of Hur’s interviews with Biden in the spring. But the Justice Department released only part of the documents, leaving out the audio of the interview with the president.

The attorney general said the Justice Department has gone to extraordinary lengths to provide information to partners about Hur’s investigation. However, Garland said releasing the audio could compromise future sensitive and high-profile investigations by making future witnesses fearful of cooperating with authorities.

Executive privilege protects a president’s ability to obtain frank advice from his advisors without fear of immediate public disclosure and protects confidential communications related to official responsibilities.

Garland is the third attorney general to be tried for contempt of Congress.

Before Garland, the last attorney general held in Tempt was Bill Barr in 2019. That’s when the Democratic-controlled House voted to commit to a referral against Barr after he refused to turn over documents related to a special counsel investigation into Trump.

Years earlier, then-Attorney General Eric Holder was charged with contempt in connection with the gun-trafficking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious. In each of these cases, the Justice Department took no action against the attorney general.

The special counsel in Biden’s case, Hur, spent a year investigating the president’s case. Improper retention of classified documents, from his time as senator and vice president. Hur said he found no evidence sufficient to bring a successful case to court.

A transcription of Hur’s interview Showed that Biden had trouble remembering some dates and sometimes mixed up some details — something longtime aides say he had done for years, both in public and private life — but otherwise he showed deep recollection in other areas. Biden and his aides are particularly sensitive to questions about his age. At 81 years old, he is the oldest president everand he is seeking another four-year term.

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