Republican House on Move: AG Garland Faces Contempt Charges over Subpoenaed Biden Tapes

House Republicans are taking aggressive steps to hold US Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt. The GOP maintains that Garland has not complied with lawfully issued subpoenas, specifically pertaining to audio tapes featuring transcripts of President Biden. The contention comes invigorated by the lack of action on part of the Justice Department, casting a spotlight on the tension between the GOP and the White House.

The GOP decided to escalate the matter following the Justice Department’s non-compliance with a past subpoena, which sought tapes of President Biden’s conversations that were cited in an impeachment inquiry. In an assessment of the situation, Republicans reference the precedence set in their charging of former Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing their determination to exercise necessary checks and balances against executive power.

In a twist of parliamentary procedures, House Republicans have scrutinized contempt proceedings, deeming them fitting for the Attorney General’s handling of the subpoena. The gravity of these measures seldom comes to light in Congress, but House Republicans suggest the Attorney General’s actions call for these grave proceedings.

This development parallels a resurgent wave of criticism from Republicans against Merrick Garland and his handling of various issues. Be it questions on ethics, the treatment of parents who voice concerns against Critical Race Theory in schools or Garland’s refusal to answer questions about the Durham investigation, the Attorney General finds himself increasingly at the receiving end of GOP scrutiny.

Naturally, a vital question arises: What would holding the Attorney General in contempt actually mean? In theory, this act can lead to imprisonment or fines. As it stands, however, it remains largely symbolic, used as a tool to express disapproval and pressure the charged individual into action.

Historically, contempt proceedings are rare, particularly in the case of high-ranking officials such as the Attorney General. Holder, for instance, became the first sitting Attorney General held in contempt of Congress in 2012. House Republicans used these measures to pressurize President Obama’s Justice Department into surrendering documents related to a gun-running scandal, famously known as the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation.

The GOP’s pressure on Garland has, however, had some effect. Just last week, the Attorney General recused himself from an FBI leak probe, following mounting pressure from Republicans who questioned his and his department’s ethics.

Despite criticism and threats of contempt charges, the Department of Justice stands firm, reiterating its commitment to complying with lawful orders while remaining independent of political gamesmanship. While the GOP sees Attorney General Garland’s actions as contemptible, the department considers these tactics as part of a larger pressure campaign.

It remains to be seen whether the Attorney General will succumb to these pressures or continue his steadfast commitment to maintain the autonomy and dignity of the Justice Department. This drama underlines the intense partisanship and polarity within American politics today, and how it shapes the roles and actions of major political actors.