Justice Department Won't Prosecute AG Merrick Garland Despite Congressional Contempt

 June 15, 2024

The Department of Justice has decided not to prosecute Attorney General Merrick Garland following a House vote to hold him in contempt for not complying with Congressional subpoenas.

Breitbart News reported that his decision was based on President Biden's assertion of executive privilege, which directed Garland not to release the subpoenaed materials, as detailed in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte to House Speaker Mike Johnson.

In a closely followed development, the DOJ, under guidance from President Biden, declared that invoking executive privilege was warranted, effectively directing AG Garland to withhold certain documents requested by Congress. These documents were pertinent to a probe led by Special Counsel Robert Hur into Biden's interactions with classified data.

Details on the Executive Privilege Assertion

Carlos Felipe Uriarte, a spokesperson for the DOJ, confirmed the presidential directive. "President Joe Biden had asserted executive privilege and directed the Attorney General not to 'release materials'," he stated.

This directive ensured Garland's compliance with the President's instructions, although it has ignited significant debate over its implications.

According to the Department of Justice, the decision to invoke executive privilege was legally vetted and deemed appropriate. "That directive was based on a legal opinion from the Department of Justice, advising that asserting privilege would be legally proper," a DOJ statement explained.

February marked a critical juncture in this saga when subpoenas were issued. Special Counsel Hur finalized his findings, opting not to prosecute Biden because of his age and memory considerations.

Despite partial compliance from the DOJ, including the provision of Hur's report sans extra redactions and facilitating Hur's testimony before Congress, discord arose over the absence of audio recordings from Biden's interview, which were replaced with transcript summaries.

This led to further scrutiny in Congress, culminating in a vote on Wednesday. The House decided, by a narrow margin of 216 to 207, to hold Garland in contempt. The charge centered around his perceived non-compliance with the subpoena demands.

Felipe Uriarte Clarifies the DOJ Stance

In response, Carlos Felipe Uriarte detailed the DOJ's and the President's stance more thoroughly in a letter addressed to House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday. Uriarte emphasized that the initial compliance with the subpoena included "materials responsive to all four requests in the Committee's subpoenas."

Furthermore, the Department firmly held its position on the non-prosecution of officials under such circumstances. "The longstanding position of the Department is that we will not prosecute an official for contempt of Congress for declining to provide subpoenaed information subject to a presidential assertion of executive privilege," explained the DOJ.

In contrast to this high-level legal maneuvering, a related legal matter involving former White House strategist Steve Bannon has moved in a different direction. Bannon is set to report to prison on July 1 following his defiance of a subpoena issued by a committee investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

The DOJ's decision not to prosecute AG Merrick Garland emphasizes the weight of executive privilege under specific circumstances. This maintains a precedent but also highlights the ongoing negotiation between executive decisions and legislative oversight in U.S. governance. The balance of these powers and privileges will remain subject to legal, political, and public scrutiny as future developments unfold.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

Top Articles



Receive information on new articles posted, important topics and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. 
Unsubscribe at any time.

Recent Articles

Recent Analysis

Copyright © 2024 - CapitalismInstitute.org
A Project of Connell Media.