Republicans Blocked From Prosecuting Garland

The United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

( – The Department of Justice (DOJ) had an internal memo in circulation where it was claimed that Attorney General Merrick Garland was going to be protected from any prosecution for contempt of Congress  considering how President Joe Biden has claimed that the audio tapes are protected by executive privilege. The House GOP had previously requested the audio tapes from a subpoena. 

The Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) wrote a 57-page memo which specifically discusses the grounds for Garland’s refusal to hand over the audio tapes from the conversation of Biden and special counsel Robert Hur. The Republicans have already received a transcript of the interview. 

The OLC, which acts as the department’s legal adviser, had argued that no administration official was going to face prosecution for not having complied with a subpoena after the president had claimed there was executive privilege over the tapes. 

In the memo, it is noted that for almost seven decades and across presidential administrations it has always been believed that the Executive Branch would not claim criminal contempt for those officials who do not comply with a congressional subpoena when there is executive privilege asserted by the President. As it argued this has been a longstanding position that the U.S. Attorney would not be prosecuted for criminal contempt in such cases. 

The memo includes details about how Congress will respond if Congress chooses to hold Garland in contempt during the vote on Wednesday. If they choose to hold him in contempt it acts as a recommendation for the Department of Justice, which is then called to decide whether or not it will bring forward charges. 

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