According to the latest reports, House Republicans have Attorney General Merrick Garland by the neck. They threaten to hold him in contempt of Congress unless the prosecutor submits some unredacted items in the possession of the Justice Department.

The said files are linked to the special probe on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents. This follows Special Counsel Robert Hur’s release of his long-awaited report on the matter last Thursday.

The House’s Demand

Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer in a letter on Monday requested Garland to comply with a subpoena sent in February. The two Republican lawmakers issued the order as a part of an emerging investigation.

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The recent probe concerns Special Counsel Robert Hur’s judgment to not charge the president. And Garland’s possible delay in turning over the materials could hamper the time-sensitive investigation.

Ultimatum For Turnover Of Demand

The ultimatum given for the submission of the demanded files is April 8. Corner, chair of the Oversight Committee, and Jordan, chair of the Judiciary Committee ordered the Justice Department to make available their requests on or before this time.

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The files are unredacted audio and transcripts of Hur’s lengthy interviews with Biden and his ghostwriter. In their words, “If you fail to do so, the Committees will consider taking further action, such as the invocation of contempt of Congress proceedings.”

Justice Department’s Response

The Justice Department didn’t shy away from the matter. In a statement released late on Monday, the department expressed that it has been extraordinarily transparent with Congress.


Further in the release, it made clear that the Attorney General submitted Mr Hur’s report to Congress without any changes or redactions. The department believes it has cooperated throughout the process.

Documents Provided By The Justice Department

The Department said it presented several documents to Congress. These include a copy of the President’s interview transcript. Also, it attested to Mr Hur testifying for several hours in Congress about his investigation.

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The department’s spokesperson, Emma Dulaney contacted the press. In her statement, “Given the Department’s ongoing and extensive cooperation, we hope they will reconsider this unnecessary escalation.”

Why Is Hur’s Verdict Bothersome For The Republicans?

There is unrest among the Republicans due to Hur’s judgment. This is understandable considering the federal prosecutor is GOP-appointed. He appeared before the lawmakers a few weeks back for interrogation concerning his 345-page report. 

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The questioning took more than four hours. And the crux of the matter surrounds doubt about Biden’s age and mental competence. Ultimately, Hur said he found insufficient evidence to make a case that would make it to the courtroom.

Hur’s Statement

Hur’s “no criminal charges” recommendation for Biden is a heartburn for most House Republicans. However, the Special Counsel believes he did the right thing, stating the available evidence doesn’t meet the standard for criminal charges.

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“What I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows, and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe,” Hur said. Further, he mentioned not sanitizing his explanation or disparaging the 81-year-old president unfairly.

The Backlash

Hur’s explanation of his view wasn’t enough to save him from the criticism he would receive. He experienced barrages of attacks during his interrogation with Congress and after.

Source: The New York Times/Chang W. Lee

Source: The New York Times/Chang W. Lee

Many across both sides of the aisle weren’t having it with Hur’s commentary on his report. Like that wasn’t enough, his conclusive recommendation to withhold pressing charges against Biden intensified the tension.

What Happened Before Hur’s Testimony?

Here is why House Republicans are doubtful about Hur’s verdict: Hours before his testimony, the Justice Department provided a redacted transcript providing a subtle imagery of the investigation.

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The probing is about a year already. Meanwhile, this Justice Department’s nuanced file accounts for some gaps left by Biden’s and Hur’s reckoning of the exchanges.

Republicans Deduction Of Biden’s Case

Many Republicans have reiterated that President Donald Trump was treated unfairly in his Justice Department case. In comparison to Biden, the likes of Comer and Jordan have been insisting on this for the past year.

Source: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The GOP members believe Biden was left off the hook. Whereas, Trump was singled out and condemned. 

What Do Other Reps Think?

The majority of House Republicans have nonconflicting views about the matter. For the most part, many sense unfairness. California’s Rep. Tom McClintock addressed it as a glaring double standard.

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Most of these grievances were expressed during Hur’s interrogation with Congress. “Donald Trump’s being prosecuted for exactly the same act that you documented Joe Biden committed,” McClintock told Hur.

The Difference Between Both Probes

Despite the discontentment from Republicans, there are major differences between both investigations. Biden’s team returned the documents after they were discovered. Also, the president consented to an interview and permitted searches of his home.

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On the other hand, Trump is accused of enrolling the help of aides. He had attorneys concealing documents from the government, striving to have potentially implicating evidence destroyed.

Biden’s Statement

The president’s remarks include his denial of the discretionary exposure of classified information as a private citizen. Moreover, Hur’s questioning of his mental acuity sparked anger in Biden—especially when the Special Counsel doubted his recollection of his son’s time of death from cancer. 

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Regardless of the accusations, Hur believes the Justice Department might not be able to prove Biden’s intent beyond a reasonable doubt. He sighted a likelihood of “innocent explanations” for irrefutable records due to his advanced age.

Implication Of Hur’s Report For Biden

The outcome of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report is a contrasting take from former President Donald Trump’s situation. Meanwhile, the verdict is no great news on multiple fronts for Biden either as it confirms his willful disclosure of classified materials as a private citizen.

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It also highlights his confusion and significantly limited recall of the occurrence linked to the documents. Biden can rest happily knowing he won’t face criminal charges. However, it doesn’t end there. Hur’s report has harmed Biden’s case of “bringing normalcy to the presidency” after Trump’s “chaotic” latter days in office.