Skip to content

House Republicans vote to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress

  • by

On Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans on voted on a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur on his handling of classified documents.

The final vote along party lines was 216 to 207, with Rep. David Joyce of Ohio the only Republican who voted against the contempt resolution. In a statement after the vote, Joyce said, “As a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points.” Joyce also suggested the vote was a partisan act: “as a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points. The American people expect Congress to work for them, solve policy problems, and prioritize good governance. Enough is enough.”

The lower chamber’s vote to hold Garland in contempt now makes him the third attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. The resolution includes a referral to the U.S. attorney of the District of Columbia for criminal prosecution, however, GOP investigators are expected to enter into a legal fight with the Justice Department to obtain the recordings.

Speaker Mike Johnson called the outcome “a significant step in maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities .. It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas.” Johnson added: “The Committees need the audio tapes to verify the accuracy of the written transcripts given this White House has been known to heavily edit the President’s statements. This is a simple matter — we have the transcript, and we need the audio.”

Garland stated that it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon. Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees. I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

Editorial credit: Tennessee Witney / Shutterstock.com