House Votes On Resolution To Hold Merrick Garland In Inherent Contempt

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The House of Representatives rejected a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt.

The effort fell short in a 204-210 vote.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) proposed the measure to fine Garland $10,000 a day until he complies with congressional subpoenas to hand over audiotapes of Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

“If we fail to hold Garland accountable, we will signal to whoever controls the White House it is impervious to congressional oversight, and that the constitutionality recognized power of the House of Representatives is merely a suggestion and not to be taken seriously,” Luna said, according to Roll Call. 

Four Republicans rejected the measure.

“Four Republicans — Reps. John Duarte, David Joyce, Michael Turner and Tom McClintock — voted with Democrats to take down the measure,” ABC News stated.

12 Republicans did not vote on the resolution.

Per ABC News:

The vote came after two Democratic efforts to table, or effectively kill, the measure late Wednesday were unsuccessful. It also comes after House Republican leaders urged Rep. Luna at a closed-door GOP conference meeting earlier this week to not bring it up for a vote this week.

But Rep. Luna forged ahead with her effort anyway with the blessing of former President Donald Trump.

A Department of Justice spokesperson, ahead of the vote, said, “This is unconstitutional. We are confident our arguments would prevail in court.”

House Republicans voted on June 12 to hold Garland in contempt of Congress over the Biden-Hur audio recordings. Just one Republican, Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, voted against that contempt effort. A few weeks later, on July 1, the House Judiciary sued the Department of Justice to obtain the audio.

The Justice Department declined to prosecute Garland for contempt of Congress, citing what it called longstanding policy against prosecuting an attorney general. House Speaker Mike Johnson, in response, said the House would “move to enforce the subpoena of Attorney General Garland in federal court.”

“The vote to hold Merrick Garland in inherent contempt for concealing the Biden/Hur tapes just failed because 12 House Republicans decided to skip the vote,” Greg Price wrote.

From Roll Call:

The inherent contempt power allows for the arrest or detention of a person found to be obstructing the legislature’s performance duties, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Luna’s resolution does not go that far, as it would only impose a fine. This Congress is not subordinate to the executive branch, she said.

Congress held Garland in contempt last month because he refused to provide the audio of the Biden interview. The Justice Department last said it would not prosecute Garland.

“This resolution will protect the integrity and independence of the legislative branch, and to each one of my colleagues, your constituents and this institution are relying on you to be on the right side of law and order,” she said.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., ridiculed the resolution as a “B.S. political stunt,” accusing Republicans of only wanting the recording because they think the Republican National Committee will be able to use it in attack ads.

“Mr. Speaker, this is a stupid resolution. Republican leadership knows this is a stupid resolution. Their own members know this is a stupid resolution, but they’re beholden to the craziest MAGA members in their conference,” McGovern said. “And so this is what we get, stupid resolutions on the floor because they’re too chicken to stand up to the extremism in their own party.”

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