House Fails to Hold AG Merrick Garland in Inherent Contempt After Four Republicans Defect

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland dodged an inherent contempt resolution after four Republicans locked arms with Democrats to oppose the effort.

The House of Representatives voted against holding Garland in inherent contempt, 209 to 207. The House, in June, held Garland in contempt after he refused to turn over audio recordings of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden during his investigation of Biden’s willful mishandling of classified information.

After that interview, Hur characterized Biden as “an elderly man with a poor memory.”

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), the resolution’s sponsor, credited the seven Republican absences for the resolution’s failure, although ten Democrats were absent, as well.

“Today’s vote on my inherent contempt resolution and the legislative appropriations bill did not pass due to some Republican absences,” she said in a statement. “An overwhelming majority of the party supports this resolution, and it already survived multiple kill-shot attempts by Democrats. Our efforts have not been futile.”

She continued:

I have refiled the resolution and will be calling it up again in a couple of weeks when Congress is back in session and Members return. Attorney General Merrick Garland will pay and be held accountable for trying to undermine our institutions. No one is above the law.

Reps. John Duarte (R-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Mike Turner (R-OH) voted against the resolution. Joyce was the lone Republican to vote against the successful contempt resolution in June.

“As a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points,” Joyce said in a statement at the time of that vote. “The American people expect Congress to work for them, solve policy problems, and prioritize good governance. Enough is enough.”

Garland’s refusal to turn over audio recordings of Hur’s interview with Biden is more significant after Biden’s disastrous debate performance on June 27. Biden’s inability to complete sentences, finish thoughts, or articulate audible phrases, as well as repeated instances of seemingly confusing past events and timelines and committing cringey and politically damning gaffes, confirmed to many Republicans Garland’s complicity in hiding Biden’s alleged diminished capabilities.

What Was That?! Biden Coughs, Stumbles, Rambles His Way Through Debate After Week of Rest and Prep

Courtesy of CNN Presidential Debate

On the day of the June vote, the Department of Justice argued in a memo that Garland would be protected from prosecution for contempt of Congress because Biden had strategically asserted executive privilege over the recordings on May 16, 2024, before the Judiciary and Oversight Committees marked up their contempt resolutions.

Luna announced her intent to force a vote on her inherent contempt resolution to hold Garland in inherent contempt of Congress after Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ), which Garland runs, made clear it would not ignore the House-passed contempt resolution.

“For Congress to legislate effectively, we must have access to the information that will enable us to make informed decisions,” Luna wrote in a letter to her colleagues. “When Congress is denied this crucial information, we are left to navigate complex issues in the dark.”

Congress established inherent contempt by law in 1957 to enable the House Sergeant-at-Arms to detain anyone defying a congressional subpoena, bypassing the executive brand and the DOJ.

Luna’s resolution would direct the House Sergeant-at-Arms to bring “Garland to the House for questioning and compel him to produce the requested evidence.”

The Florida congresswoman has claimed the Biden White House called Republicans, pressuring them to oppose the resolution — similar to its successful pressure campaign earlier in 2024 to block an amendment requiring intelligence agencies to obtain a warrant before spying on Americans.

“This is the very definition of corruption,” Luna said. “[Garland] believes he is above the law and can tell elected members of Congress what to do. My message to Garland is straightforward: release the tapes to Congress and let us listen to them.”

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.