House votes to hold AG Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress over Biden case

Washington - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of holding US Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress over his handling of President Joe Biden's classified documents case.

The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress over his handling of the Biden classified documents case.
The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress over his handling of the Biden classified documents case.  © DREW ANGERER / AFP

Just one Republican sided with the Democrats against the motion that advanced out of the GOP-led House Rules Committee on Tuesday. Seven Democrats and one Republican abstained.

In a statement released after the vote, Garland said Republicans had "turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon."

Republicans have been calling on the attorney general to release a tape from a probe into Biden over his handling of classified documents before he was elected president in 2020.

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Special Counsel Robert Hur questioned Biden in October over the confidential government documents found at his former private office.

In a concluding report, which has since been released, Hur found that there was no basis for filing criminal charges but, among other things, he described the US president as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," which has fuelled public scrutiny over whether Biden is still fit for office amid his bid for re-election in November.

Despite Wednesday's House vote, Garland is unlikely to face contempt of Congress proceedings, as it would be up to the State Department of Justice, which he heads, to initiate them.

Officials have already hinted that Biden would use his executive powers to prevent this. The president's executive privilege allows them to withhold confidential information from congressional or judicial investigations on the grounds of national security.

Cover photo: DREW ANGERER / AFP

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