Republicans threaten to hold AG Merrick Garland in contempt over Joe Biden dossier case
Republicans threaten to hold AG Merrick Garland in contempt over Joe Biden dossier case

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have threatened to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress if he does not turn over unredacted materials related to the special counsel’s investigation to President Joe Biden’s work with classified documents.

In a letter Monday — obtained by The Associated Press — Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan asked Garland to comply with a subpoena sent by the two Republican chairmen last month as part of their new investigation into special counsel Robert Hurr’s decision not to indict the president.

Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee, and Jordan, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, ordered the Justice Department to turn over the unredacted audio and transcripts of Hurr’s hour-long interviews with Biden and his ghostwriter by April 8.

“If you do not, the committees will consider taking additional action, such as citing contempt of congressional procedure,” the two lawmakers wrote.

The Justice Department responded to the letter late Monday, saying the department “has been extremely transparent with Congress” throughout the process.

“The Attorney General released Mr. Hurr’s report to Congress and made no redactions or changes, the Department provided documents to Congress, including a copy of the tape of the President’s interview, and Mr. Hurr testified before Congress for more than five hours about his investigation ,” Emma Dulaney, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement to the AP. “Given the Department’s continued and extensive cooperation, we hope they will reconsider this unnecessary escalation.”

The threat is just the latest point of tension between Republicans and the GOP-appointed federal prosecutor, who appeared before lawmakers two weeks ago to more than four hours of interrogation around his 345-page report, which questioned Biden’s age and mental competency but ultimately recommended no criminal charges against the 81-year-old president. Hurr said he didn’t find enough evidence to make a case that would hold up in court.

“What I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows and what I expect jurors to perceive and believe,” Hur said. “I have not sanitized my explanation. Nor have I neglected the President unfairly.

Despite his defense, Hurr faced a fury of criticism from both sides of the aisle for the commentary in his report and the decision to decline to indict Biden.

Hours before the testimony, the Justice Department released a redacted transcript that provides a more nuanced picture of the nearly year-long investigation, filling in some of the gaps left by the reporting of Hurr and Biden’s exchanges.

Republicans, including Comer and Jordan, have insisted over the past year that, unlike Biden, former President Donald Trump was treated unfairly in his own Justice Department case over the mishandling of classified documents. During the hearing, GOP members reiterated that while Biden had been let off the hook, Trump had been singled out and vilified, questioning whether the facts of the two cases were so different.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., called it an “obvious double standard.”

“Donald Trump is being prosecuted for the exact same act that you documented that Joe Biden committed,” he told Hur.

However, there are major differences between the two probes. Biden’s team returned the documents after they were discovered, and the president cooperated with the investigation by volunteering to be interviewed and consenting to searches of his homes. Trump, by contrast, is accused of enlisting the help of aides and lawyers to hide the documents from the government and seeking to have potentially incriminating evidence destroyed.


Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

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