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Sunday,  July 14 , 2024

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News / Politics

Speaker Johnson says House will go to court after DOJ refused to prosecute

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press
Published: June 14, 2024, 9:39pm

WASHINGTON — Speaker Mike Johnson said Friday the House will go to court to enforce the subpoena against Attorney General Merrick Garland for access to President Joe Biden’s special counsel audio interview, hours after the Justice Department refused to prosecute Republicans’ contempt of Congress charge.

“It is sadly predictable that the Biden Administration’s Justice Department will not prosecute Garland for defying congressional subpoenas even though the department aggressively prosecuted Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro for the same thing,” Johnson said. “This is yet another example of the two-tiered system of justice brought to us by the Biden Administration.”

In a letter to Johnson earlier Friday, a Justice Department official cited the agency’s “longstanding position and uniform practice” to not prosecute officials who don’t comply with subpoenas because of a president’s claim of executive privilege.

The Democratic president last month asserted executive privilege to block the release of the audio, which the White House says Republicans want only for political purposes. Republicans moved forward with the contempt effort anyway, voting Wednesday to punish Garland.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte noted that the Justice Department under presidents of both political parties has declined to prosecute in similar circumstances when there has been a claim of executive privilege.

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