Republicans Plan Contempt Charges Against AG Over Withheld Biden Audio

House Republicans are planning to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress next week for his refusal to turn over unredacted audio of an interview with President Biden conducted as part of the special counsel probe into the president’s handling of classified documents. The House Judiciary Committee is set to convene on May 16 to advance the contempt charges.

The move comes after Republicans led by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY) ordered the Justice Department to turn over audio of special counsel Robert Hur’s interviews with Biden by early April. The department only provided some of the records excluding the audio interview with the president.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte the department’s head of congressional affairs warned in a letter to Jordan and Comer last month that providing the audio would set a precedent for future investigations and suggested that the committees’ interest in the records may not be “in service of legitimate oversight or investigatory functions but to serve political purposes.”

Comer dismissed that rationale saying the Biden administration “does not get to determine what Congress needs and does not need for its oversight of the executive branch.” If the House holds Garland in contempt it is unlikely that the Justice Department, which he oversees, would prosecute him.

Hur spent a year investigating Biden’s improper retention of classified documents from his time as a senator and as vice president. His 345-page report questioned Biden’s age and mental competence but recommended no criminal charges.