DOJ Memo: Garland Won’t Face Prosecution for Contempt of Congress

According to an internal Department of Justice (DOJ) document, Attorney General Merrick Garland will not be prosecuted for contempt of Congress in relation to the audio recordings between Special Counsel Robert Hur and President Joe Biden. On Wednesday, Garland was found in contempt of Congress.

The department’s Office of Legal Counsel released the memo, which The Hill was able to get. It asserts that for almost 70 years, the Executive Branch has insisted that if a president invokes executive privilege, Executive Branch employees who refuse to comply with a congressional subpoena are not subject to the criminal contempt of Congress act. 

The document stated, “No US Attorney has pursued criminal contempt charges against an Executive Branch official asserting the President’s claim of executive privilege, consistent with this longstanding position.”

In the past, Special Counsel Hur’s investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents was concealed by the administration under the grounds of executive privilege. Hur chose not to prosecute Biden on the grounds that a jury would view him as a “elderly man with a poor memory.”

Garland was formally found in contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives on Wednesday for his refusal to provide up the audio recordings of Biden’s interview. The Biden administration has persisted in claiming that since the memo also included a written transcript, there is no need to release the audio.

The memo stated, “The needs the committees have articulated for the recordings are plainly insufficient to overcome a privilege claim grounded in these important separation of powers concerns, because the committees have access to the transcripts of the special counsel’s interviews.”

It said, “No information relevant to the committees’ stated needs that is not available in the transcripts will be revealed by the audio recording.”

It was previously claimed, nevertheless, that the White House had changed the transcript. The Oversight Project at The Heritage Foundation published a court document earlier this month that stated that Biden’s frequent use of filler words like “um” and “uh” had been edited out.

Additionally, the DOJ has made an effort to claim that the audio tape should not be made public due to its vulnerability to deepfake and artificial intelligence technology.