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Johnson Planning Court Action After DOJ Refuses To Prosecute AG Garland

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Joe Biden and his administration like to claim that no one is above the law when it comes to his administration’s prosecution of his chief political rival, Donald Trump, but that doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to one of the president’s appointees, Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The GOP-controlled House sent a criminal referral last week, but Garland disregarded a congressional subpoena for audio recordings of Biden made by former special counsel Robert Hur during the former’s investigation into the latter’s unauthorized possession of classified materials.

This is even though Biden’s DOJ has prosecuted two of Trump’s former advisers — Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro — for the same thing after they, too, claimed executive privilege.

As such, House Speaker Mike Johnson announced last week that isn’t the end of it: The House will go to court to try and force the DOJ to surrender the recordings of Biden, which many Republicans suspect will further demonstrate Biden’s mental decline.

Republicans began seeking the recordings after learning that administration officials altered transcripts of Hur’s interviews with the president, which have already been released to Congress.

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Also, Johnson said that he would ask a court to enforce the House’s subpoena of Garland.

“I will be certifying the contempt reports to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia,” the Louisiana Republican said. “We will also move to enforce the subpoena of Attorney General Garland in federal court.”

In a letter to Johnson earlier Friday, the DOJ pointed to its “longstanding” position of not prosecuting executive branch officials who withhold information subject to executive privilege from Congress, CNN reported. Republicans have countered that the claim isn’t valid since transcripts of the interviews, even in altered form, have already been given to lawmakers.

The announcement was expected following the House vote holding Garland in contempt of Congress.

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“Consistent with this longstanding position and uniform practice, the Department has determined that the responses by Attorney General Garland to the subpoenas issued by the Committees did not constitute a crime, and accordingly the Department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the Attorney General,” the letter, from the department’s top congressional liaison, said.

Hur’s documentation of Biden’s substantial loss of mental capacity renewed arguments among what is now a large majority of Americans — based on the most recent surveys — that they do not believe the president can serve another four-year term, much less serve out his current term.

Just the news noted in February, when Hur’s report was released:

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Hur’s 388-page report released Thursday may have spared Biden the spectacle of a criminal prosecution similar to that his Justice Department imposed on Donald Trump, but it delivered a devastating blow to the 46th president’s re-election hopes by going out of its way to explain criminal charges weren’t levied in part because jurors might see Biden as a doddering, forgetful old man incapable of criminal intent.

“Mr. Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote in explaining his rationale for refusing prosecution. “It would be difficult to convince a jury they should convict him – by then a former president who will be at least well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report concluded.

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