Wednesday, April 17

Republicans subpoena attorney general for records


U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a meeting of the Reproductive Rights Task Force at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

House Republicans on Tuesday subpoenaed Attorney General Merrick Garland for records related to a special counsel’s investigation of how President Joe Biden handled classified documents.

The chairmen of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees demanded that Garland give them transcripts, notes, video and audio files from special counsel Robert Hur’s probe.

The chairmen linked the request directly to their ongoing presidential impeachment inquiry, which centers on allegations that Biden and his family engaged in corrupt business practices.

“Now that Special Counsel Hur’s investigation has concluded, the American people have a right to know whether President Biden retained classified documents related to his family’s overseas business dealings,” Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in a press release.

They gave Garland until March 7 at 9 a.m. ET to respond to the subpoena.

Biden later that same day is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

“We owe it to the American people to provide transparency and accountability about the extent of Joe Biden retaining sensitive materials and the concerns raised about his current mental state and fitness to be President of the United States,” said Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., in Tuesday’s release.

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Hur’s probe culminated in a report released Feb. 8 that said Biden “willfully” kept classified documents in unsecured places after his tenure as Barack Obama’s vice president ended in 2016.

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Hur decided not to pursue criminal charges against the president.

But his report noted that if he did prosecute Biden, the president would “likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

The press release Tuesday noted that the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means panels are also demanding classified documents related to a December 2015 phone call between then-Vice President Biden and Ukraine’s then-prime minister.

The Republicans’ press release said the call occurred around the time that Biden called for the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was a board member of.

But fact checkers have repeatedly noted that that prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not investigating Burisma at the time Biden called for his removal. The international community, not just Biden, had also been calling for Shokin’s ouster.

Hur’s report showed that there were two documents recovered from Biden’s private office that referenced a call with the former prime minister. But Hur concluded in the report that the evidence suggested those documents were retained by mistake.

Hur added, “No jury could reasonably find that the substance of the call between Mr. Biden and the Ukrainian Prime Minister was national defense information. The two exchanged pleasantries and the Prime Minister heaped praise upon Mr. Biden for his December 9, 2015 speech to Ukraine’s parliament. They did not engage in a substantive policy discussion.”

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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