Speaker Johnson Announces House Will Pursue Biden Audio in Court After DOJ Declines to Prosecute AG

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Friday that the House plans to take legal action to enforce the subpoena against Attorney General Merrick Garland for access to President Joe Biden’s special counsel audio interview. This comes after the Justice Department declined to prosecute Republicans for contempt of Congress.

In a statement, Johnson expressed disappointment in the Biden Administration’s Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Garland for defying congressional subpoenas while aggressively pursuing similar cases involving Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro. Johnson criticized the perceived two-tiered system of justice under the Biden Administration.

The Justice Department, in a letter to Johnson, cited its longstanding policy of not prosecuting officials who do not comply with subpoenas based on a claim of executive privilege made by the president.

President Biden invoked executive privilege last month to prevent the release of the audio, which Republicans requested. Despite this, Republicans proceeded with a contempt vote against Garland for failing to provide the recording.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte explained in the letter to Johnson that the Justice Department, following past practices under various administrations, will not bring the contempt citation before a grand jury for prosecution.

Republicans had sought the audio of special counsel Robert Hur’s interviews with President Biden, raising concerns about the handling of classified documents. However, the Justice Department only released some records and did not provide the audio of the interview with the president.

The decision not to prosecute Garland has drawn criticism from Republicans, who accuse the White House of withholding the tape to avoid negative publicity ahead of an election year. They question the administration’s commitment to the rule of law.

President Biden and his aides have defended the decision to assert executive privilege, citing concerns about compromising future investigations by releasing sensitive information.

The Justice Department’s refusal to prosecute officials for contempt of Congress has been met with comparisons to past cases involving both Democratic and Republican administrations, where similar decisions were made.

The ongoing dispute highlights the challenges of balancing transparency with the need to protect sensitive information in government investigations.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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