Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 85° Today's Paper


Top News

Justice Dept. won’t pursue contempt charges against Garland

REUTERS/ANNA ROSE LAYDEN/FILE PHOTO
                                U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on June 4. The U.S. Justice Department today told House Speaker Mike Johnson that it would decline to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Merrick Garland.
1/1
Swipe or click to see more

REUTERS/ANNA ROSE LAYDEN/FILE PHOTO

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on June 4. The U.S. Justice Department today told House Speaker Mike Johnson that it would decline to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Merrick Garland.

WASHINGTON >> The U.S. Justice Department today told Republican House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson that it would decline to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Merrick Garland, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter comes just two days after the Republican-controlled House voted along party lines to hold Garland in contempt for refusing to turn over audio recordings of a special counsel interview with Democratic President Joe Biden.

The department’s decision not to pursue charges comes as no surprise.

In two other past cases in which the House voted to hold former attorneys general Eric Holder and William Barr in contempt, a very similar letter declining to pursue contempt charges was also sent to lawmakers.

In a statement, Johnson said he disagreed with assertions in the Justice Department letter and that House Republicans will “move to enforce the subpoena of Attorney General Garland in federal court.”

The Justice Department cited its long-standing policy against pursuing criminal prosecutions for congressional contempt in cases in which the White House has asserted a legitimate claim of executive privilege, a legal doctrine that shields certain communications.

In the case of the audio recordings, the White House previously asserted privilege and the Justice Department has said disclosing them could chill future investigations.

The department has already turned over a transcript of Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, who investigated him for his retention of classified records.

Hur’s report set off a political firestorm after he declined to prosecute Biden.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.