House Republican wants to have attorney general arrested just because

GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, best known for fabricating her entire life story, told Fox News that she has a plan to get the sergeant-at-arms to arrest Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

“Several months ago, I introduced a resolution for something called inherent contempt of Congress. This is something that Congress has the authority to do, and it hasn’t been done since the early 1900’s,” she told host Maria Bartiromo on Monday. 

Luna was responding to questions about the Justice Department’s announcement that it would not prosecute Garland for not turning over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

“And what that allows Congress to do is really be the punitive arm and really hold Garland accountable by using the sergeant-at-arms to essentially go and get him,” Luna went on, “as well as the tapes, bring him to the well of the house and really be a check-and-balance on the Department of Justice.”

Like most of what Luna says, there are all kinds of facts being misrepresented here. For one, her assertion that she introduced her inherent contempt of Congress resolution “several months ago” is belied by the fact that she actually announced it on May 7. And while that is technically more than one month, it is far less than several months. Though, to be fair, her announcement could have been missed, since it came the same day that Stormy Daniels was testifying … in Trump’s criminal trial.

The sergeant-at-arms is "the chamber’s primary law enforcement official and protocol officer, responsible for maintaining security on the House floor and the House side of the U.S. Capitol complex.” 

The case from the “early 1900’s” that Luna is referring to is something some legal scholars felt was more apropos to the unwillingness to comply with requests from Congress by the Trump administration.

The Teapot Dome scandal, which involved President Warren G. Harding’s Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall’s no-bid contract to lease federal oil fields in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, happened in 1922. Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty was heavily criticized at the time for not more thoroughly investigating Fall, who was later convicted of taking a $100,000 bribe.

The scandal escalated to the Senate committee subpoenaing Mally S. Daugherty, the attorney general’s brother. 

When Mally Daugherty refused to show up to testify before Congress, the Senate Sergeant at Arms David S. Barry deputized John J. McGrain to arrest him and bring him to Washington to testify.

The Republicans’ fixation on getting audio, despite having already received the entire transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden, has been a transparently political endeavor. Hur, a Republican, released a 375-page report in February saying that no charges were warranted and that Biden had likely kept the documents as a private citizen by “mistake.”

Since then, House Republicans voted to hold Garland in contempt. Speaker Mike Johnson vowed to take the Garland contempt case to court after the DOJ announced it planned no further action. But whether Johnson will bring Luna’s resolution to a vote remains to be seen.

There has been very little tangible action that has come out of the GOP’s neverending political theater. This past year it spent an inordinate amount of time attacking Biden’s border security while trying to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas—a stunt that failed miserably. 

Luna’s newest resolution is the GOP’s latest political stunt to create a cloud of doubt over Biden’s reelection campaign against convicted felon Trump.

Hopium Chronicles' Simon Rosenberg joins Markos to discuss the “red wave-ification” of the economy and how prepared Democrats are for November. There is still work to do but we have a better candidate—and we have the edge.

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House GOP targets attorney general after failing to dig up dirt on Biden

The House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Accountability Committee are holding hearings Thursday to consider holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. The Department of Justice has refused to provide recordings of special counsel Robert Hur’s interviews with President Joe Biden and his ghostwriter in the classified documents probe, having already provided the transcripts of those interviews. 

The outcome of these meetings isn’t in question; committee chairs Jim Jordan and James Comer will push the contempt vote to the House floor. They remain intent on finding anything that they can use to impeach Biden and/or members of his administration, and they won’t let the fact that their efforts so far have been ridiculous stop them. 

It took them two tries to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, only for the Senate to swat it away. The star witness in their Biden impeachment case turned out to be a Russian mole. And they’ve already been down the road of trying to use Hur’s report to prove Biden unfit for office—a game that Hur refused to play in Jordan’s disastrous hearing. But no embarrassing defeat is going to stop them.

“These audio recordings are important to our investigation of President Biden’s willful retention of classified documents and his fitness to be President of the United States,” Comer said in a press release. 

The DOJ has in fact been providing information to Comer and Jordan. In February, it even gave them access to two of the classified documents Biden had from his time as vice president, which Comer insisted were critical to his investigations. 

But Comer “has not yet taken us up on our offer,” DOJ Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote in refusing the team’s subpoena for more information. 

Uriarte detailed all of the information they had provided in response to their demands and subpoenas in his initial letter to Jordan and Comer in April and concluded “we are therefore concerned that the Committees are disappointed not because you didn’t receive information, but because you did.”

In his second letter to the chairs, Uriarte reiterated that point.

“It seems that the more information you receive, the less satisfied you are, and the less justification you have for contempt, the more you rush towards it,” he wrote. “[T]he Committees’ inability to identify a need for these audio files grounded in legislative or impeachment purposes raises concerns about what other purposes they might serve.”

The purpose, of course, is having audio and video that they can chop up to show Biden unfavorably in their televised hearings. They got the transcripts for their hearing with Hur, but they didn’t find anything, so of course they’re doubling down. It’s Jordan and Comer—what else are they going to do?

But this latest sham does at least give Democrats on the committees yet another opportunity to own Republicans in the hearings.


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Ian Bassin is the former associate White House counsel and co-founder and executive director of Protect Democracy. Protect Democracy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group focused on anti-authoritarianism, how to protect our democracy, and safeguarding our free and fair elections.

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House GOP manufactures new fight after Biden impeachment fails

House Republicans’ attempt to impeach President Joe Biden has fizzled out. But the two members tasked with the job, Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and Oversight Chair James Comer,  needing to atone for their failure, have picked another fight: threatening to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt over the Department of Justice’s refusal to provide the audio recordings of Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur in the classified documents probe. 

Garland is refusing to play their game. 

On Thursday, the DOJ refused for a second time to provide that audio, arguing that it has complied in full with the committees’ subpoenas for information. It provided both the transcription of the Biden interview as well as Hur’s interview with Biden’s ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer for Jordan’s big disaster of a hearing. Two months ago, it even gave Jordan and Comer access to two of the classified documents, which Comer insisted were critical to his investigations. 

But Comer “has not yet taken us up on our offer,” DOJ Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote.

In Uriarte’s first letter to Jordan and Comer earlier this month, he detailed all of the information they had provided in response to their demands and subpoenas. 

“The Committees’ reaction is difficult to explain in terms of any lack of information or frustration of any informational or investigative imperative, given the Department’s actual conduct,” Uriarte wrote. “We are therefore concerned that the Committees are disappointed not because you didn’t receive information, but because you did.”

Uriarte reiterated that point Thursday. 

“It seems that the more information you receive, the less satisfied you are, and the less justification you have for contempt, the more you rush towards it,” he wrote. “[T]he Committees’ inability to identify a need for these audio files grounded in legislative or impeachment purposes raises concerns about what other purposes they might serve.”

Those purposes are clearly political. They need to keep up the fight against Biden and are scrambling for whatever they can get. They also probably believe that the audio of the interview could be damaging to Biden. Hur’s report included gratuitous hits about Biden’s age and mental acuity, so Jordan and Comer want to play it during their hearings, knowing that the media would eat that up

Uriarte outlined the DOJ’s concern about that, writing that it would impinge on Biden’s privacy and that “courts have recognized the privacy interest in one’s voice—including tone, pauses, emotional reactions, and cues—is distinct from the privacy interest in a written transcript of one’s conversation.”

He also implied that Comer and Jordan can’t be trusted with the audio, writing that it could be manipulated by “cutting, erasing, and splicing.” 

That’s a safe assumption on Uriarte’s part.

After basically crying “uncle” on impeaching Biden on influence peddling, being humiliated over their Alejandro Mayorkas impeachment stunt, and losing on Ukraine and government funding, Jordan and Comer are itching for revenge.

But the DOJ has called them on it

“The Committees have demanded information you know we have principled reasons to protect, and then accused us of obstruction for upholding those principles,” Uriarte wrote. “This deepens our concern that the Committees may be seeking conflict for conflict’s sake.”


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House GOP to launch critical investigation into just how old Biden is

The New York Times is determined to make 'but his age' the new 'but her emails'

Here's one way to avoid dealing with election results you don't like: just wipe them from the record books. It's not Orwell—it's Arizona, and we're talking all about it on this week's episode of "The Downballot." This fall, voters have the chance to deny new terms to two conservative Supreme Court justices, but a Republican amendment would retroactively declare those elections null and void—and all but eliminate the system Arizona has used to evaluate judges for 50 years. We're going to guess voters won't like this one bit … if it even makes it to the ballot in the first place.

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House GOP prepares to embarrass itself with more Biden impeachment nonsense

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan has grasped at every straw in his quest to avenge Donald Trump and impeach President Joe Biden, including the one straw held out to him by an alleged Russian mole. That having blown up embarrassingly in his face, Jordan appears to be leading his committee into another fiasco.

Jordan’s latest effort is his investigation into just how old Biden is, with a hearing Tuesday. His star witness is special counsel Robert Hur, the Department of Justice official who investigated Biden’s handling of classified documents and found that no criminal charges were warranted. Hur did, however, throw in some gratuitous hits on Biden’s age in his report, which legal experts have called “a partisan hit job.”

Hur probably won’t deliver what Jordant wants, according to sources involved with preparing Hur’s testimony who spoke with the Wall Street Journal. Hur is “intent on turning down the political temperature surrounding his report,” the Journal reports, and to try to explain why he included the extraneous bits about Biden’s memory. Those details, Hur is expected to say, “were necessary to explain his team’s decision that charges weren’t justified.”

That’s problem No. 1 for Jordan. Problem No. 2 is that Biden himself blew the “Biden is too old” narrative clear out of the water with last week’s State of the Union address. Biden adeptly scrapped with Republican hecklers, forcefully laid out his agenda and earned news reports declaring him aggressive, energetic, fiery, feisty, and forceful. Biden’s speech didn’t just wow the pundits—it seems to have impressed voters. Public opinion soared in quick polls conducted after the speech.

That’s going to make arguing that this man is too doddery and feeble to be trusted with the nation’s security a little tough for Jordan and team. It also gives Democrats on the committee a chance to swing for the fences on Donald Trump’s fitness to lead, particularly his alleged classified documents crimes. 

Because what Republicans tended to ignore in Hur’s report was the part where he compared Trump’s and Biden’s handling of classified documents. Hur pointed out that “after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite,” and that Trump “not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.” 

On the other hand, Hur wrote, “Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview. and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.” You can be sure that the Democrats on the committee are going to be teasing out every detail of that comparison, putting Hur on the record against Trump. 

Thus Jordan’s star witness is shaping up to be a hostile one, the whole premise of the hearing has fallen apart, and he’s opening up the congressional record for more official testimony from a representative of the Department of Justice about Trump’s abuse of power. This might just be fun.


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House GOP can’t wait to have hearings on how old Biden really is

House Republicans aren’t even waiting for the Justice Department to respond to their demand for the transcripts of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur. They are already planning the hearing with Hur probing into how old Biden really is. Hur has been preparing for his starring role.

Hur found no evidence against Biden in the documents-handling case he was investigating, which rose to a prosecutable level. But the former Trump official needed to do a solid for Republicans, so he added in a lot of gratuitous hits on Biden’s age in his report, which legal experts have called “a partisan hit job.”

According to Axios, Hur has been consulting with fellow former Trump official Sarah Isgur, who was Trump’s Department of Justice PR flak. Isgur has been helping him prepare to “navigate a congressional hearing.” Isgur has also been making the rounds of the Sunday shows and lying about Hur’s findings. Isgur said on ABC’s “This Week,” "They found evidence that (Biden) willfully retained national security information. And even probably beyond a reasonable doubt." The report actually said "we conclude that the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," hinting at just how much of a set-up for the GOP his report was.

Biden’s team was quick to respond to Axios: “As Hur mounts his campaign, there will be another story to tell—of Hur and his deputy being two aggressive political prosecutors from the Trump administration who decided to gun for Biden in an election year for their own political futures as Republicans.”

That will be an easy case for Biden and the Democrats to make since the hearings are going to be spearheaded by two of the Republicans’ most rabid and buffoonish characters, Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer. The chairs of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively, will fight it out to see who can be the most outrageous and ridiculous in their probes to find out just how old Biden is.

The honed and smart team of Democrats led by Rep. Jamie Raskin will continue to make a mockery of the Republicans. Their “Truth Squad,” which includes Reps. Greg Casar, Jasmine Crockett, Maxwell Frost, Daniel Goldman, and Jared Moskowitz, has perfected their tactics to derail hearings and flummox Republicans. On these hearings, it’ll be a piece of cake.


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Biden interviewed as part of the special counsel investigation into handling of classified documents

President Joe Biden has been interviewed as part of an independent investigation into his handling of classified documents, the White House said late Monday. It's a possible sign that the investigation is nearing its end.

Special counsel Robert Hur is examining the improper retention of classified documents by Biden from his time as a U.S. senator and as vice president that were found at his Delaware home, as well as at a private office he used after his service in the Obama administration.

Biden has said he was unaware he had the documents and that " there's no there there. ”

Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel's office, said in a statement that the voluntary interview was conducted at the White House on Sunday and Monday as Biden and his national security team grappled with their response to the surprise weekend attack on Israel by Hamas militants and as the president received some criticism for not being more visible during the crisis.

It’s not clear when Hur’s team approached Biden’s lawyers about an interview or how long they’d been negotiating. Asked on Aug. 25 if he planned to sit for an interview with the special counsel, Biden replied, “There's no such request and no such interest.”

The interview could signal that the special counsel investigation is nearing its conclusion.

In 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced his recommendation against criminal charges for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. the Democratic presidential nominee, over her handling of classified information just three days after agents interviewed her at FBI headquarters.

Investigators with Hur's office have already cast a broad net in the Biden probe, interviewing a wide range of witnesses about their knowledge of the handling of classified documents.

In his statement, Sams reiterated that Biden and the White House were cooperating. He referred any questions to the Justice Department.

“As we have said from the beginning, the President and the White House are cooperating with this investigation, and as it has been appropriate, we have provided relevant updates publicly, being as transparent as we can consistent with protecting and preserving the integrity of the investigation,” Sams said. "We would refer other questions to the Justice Department at this time.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland in January 2023 named Hur, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, to handle the politically sensitive Justice Department inquiry in an attempt to avoid conflicts of interest.

It is one of three recent Justice Department investigations into the handling of classified documents by politically prominent figures.

The investigation into Biden is separate from special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into the handling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump after he left the White House. Smith’s team has charged Trump with illegally retaining top secret records at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida and then obstructing government efforts to get them back. Trump has said he did nothing wrong.

No evidence has emerged to suggest that Biden engaged in comparable conduct or willfully held onto records he wasn’t supposed to have.

Questioned in January about the discovery, Biden told reporters that the documents were immediately turned over to the National Archives and the Justice Department. He said he was cooperating fully with the investigation and was “looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”

“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s no there there.”

In June, the Justice Department informed former Vice President Mike Pence's legal team that it would not pursue criminal charges against him related to the discovery of classified documents at his Indiana home. The news came as Pence finalized plans to launch his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

About a dozen documents with classified markings were discovered at Pence’s home in January after he asked his lawyers to search his vice presidential belongings “out of an abundance of caution” after the Biden discovery. The items had been “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home at the end of the last administration, Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, wrote in a letter to the National Archives.

The FBI then discovered an additional document with classified markings at the Indiana house during its own search the following month.

Pence repeatedly had said he was unaware of the documents’ existence, but that “mistakes were made" in his handling of classified material.

It is hardly unprecedented for sitting presidents to be interviewed in criminal investigations.

President George W. Bush sat for a 70-minute interview as part of an investigation into the leak of the identify of a CIA operative. President Bill Clinton in 1998 underwent more than four hours of questioning from independent counsel Kenneth Starr before a federal grand jury.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team negotiated with lawyers for then-President Donald Trump for an interview but Trump never sat for one. His lawyers instead submitted answers to written questions.

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