AG Garland Faces Contempt Charges Over Withheld Biden Interview Audio

Attorney General Merrick Garland is facing contempt charges from House Republicans next week for refusing 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 plans to convene on May 16 to advance the contempt charges.

The move is the latest escalation in the increasingly tense relationship between Republicans and the Justice Department. Last month Republicans threatened to hold Garland in contempt for not fully complying with a congressional subpoena issued as part of their probe into special counsel Robert Hur’s decision not to charge Biden with any crimes.

Republicans had ordered the department to turn over audio of Hur’s interviews with Biden by early April but the Justice Department only provided some of the records excluding the audio interview with the president. Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte warned that providing the audio would set a precedent for future investigations and suggested that the committees’ interest in the records may be politically motivated.

If the House holds Garland in contempt it is unlikely that the Justice Department which he oversees would prosecute him. The last time an attorney general was held in contempt was in 2012 when the GOP-controlled House voted to make then-Attorney General Eric H.

Holder Jr. the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress.

Hur’s 345-page report questioned Biden’s age and mental competence but recommended no criminal charges for the president’s improper retention of classified documents.