Republicans Who Defied Subpoenas Vote To Hold A.G. In Contempt For Defying Subpoena

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WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena — including three who defied their own congressional subpoenas over their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

GOP Reps. Scott Perry (Pa.), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Andy Biggs (Ariz.) all blew off subpoenas in May 2022 from the bipartisan House select committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol. The panel had previously asked them to appear voluntarily to answer questions about Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss, which culminated in his supporters’ attack on Congress as both houses met to certify the Electoral College results that day. They all declined.

They gave a variety of nonsensical reasons for ignoring their subpoenas at the time. Jordan said his had no “legitimate legislative purpose” and broke House rules. Biggs said his didn’t count because it was part of a “baseless witch hunt.” Perry, whose phone records were seized by the FBI as part of a probe into his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, similarly defied his subpoena because he said it was part of “a political witch hunt.”

They seemed to forget all about this on Wednesday when they voted to rebuke Garland — who, unlike them, took meaningful steps to comply with the GOP’s requests.

Republicans had demanded Garland hand over all materials related to President Joe Biden’s October 2023 interview with former special counsel Robert Hur, about the investigation of Biden’s past mishandling of classified information.

The Justice Department made a transcript of the full interview public and provided some documents, but Republicans said they also wanted the audio recording of the interview to ensure its accuracy. The Justice Department declined, warning of the precedent it would set for the department being required to provide audio recordings in future investigations.

Republicans responded by holding Garland in contempt of Congress in what was essentially a symbolic vote.

“The American People deserve the Hur tapes,” Perry wrote on social media. “We have no other option.”

Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan, dismissed the idea that Jordan had defied his subpoena. He blamed the House Jan. 6 committee for not convincing him to comply.

“Mr. Jordan never ignored his subpoena, the January 6th Committee stopped replying to him about his cooperation,” Dye said in an email. “Any inclination otherwise is lazy and without basic knowledge of the facts.”

Aides to Perry and Biggs did not respond to requests for comment.

Democrats resoundingly dismissed Garland’s vote as a stunt.

“This is the first time somebody’s been held in contempt by the U.S. Congress for basically complying with everything Congress has asked for,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who was a member of the Jan. 6 select committee, told reporters after the vote.

“The fairly shocking thing to me was that you had members of Congress actually speaking out on the contempt motion who themselves had completely violated subpoenas that were issued to them by the Jan. 6 Select Committee and never rendered one minute of testimony and never rendered a single document on Jan. 6,” Raskin said.

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.