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  /  News   /  AG Merrick Garland to testify on DOJ oversight

AG Merrick Garland to testify on DOJ oversight

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to testify before Congress on Tuesday about Department of Justice oversight.

Garland is expected to push back against lawmakers who have vowed to hold him in contempt, casting the effort as “only the most recent in a long line of attacks” on the Justice Department.

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Effort to hold Garland in contempt

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee voted to hold Garland in contempt over his refusal to turn audio records of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur. The contempt effort has been left in limbo, as it’s unclear whether the GOP will be able to secure enough votes to pass the measure on the full floor.

It’s a busy time for Garland to appear before some of the House’s biggest bomb throwers, though a spokesperson for the DOJ said the attorney general plans to “forcefully push back on false narratives regarding the Department’s employees and their work.”

Numerous Republicans have vented frustration toward the DOJ over former President Donald Trump’s conviction by a New York jury despite the fact that the agency has no control over state-level prosecutions.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Monday called for eliminating federal funding for state prosecutors engaged in “abusive ‘lawfare’ tactics to target political opponents.”

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Garland expected to push back Tuesday

Garland on Tuesday will call such claims a “conspiracy theory (that) is an attack on the judicial process itself.”

Rep. Laurel Lee, R-Fla., said Tuesday on “Morning in America” that the big picture for the hearing is to address the “weaponization” of government.

“One of the most important things that we can do in Congress is make sure we are conducting oversight,” Lee said. “The big picture here is the question about weaponization of government and whether two people  namely President Trump and President Biden  who have committed similar acts are being treated the same way by our justice system.”

Biden’s impeachment investigation

The GOP’s interest in holding Garland in contempt comes, they say, as an offshoot of their impeachment investigation.

Both Judiciary and the House Oversight Committee sent subpoenas to Garland asking a series of questions seeking to tie the conversation about President Joe Biden’s classified documents probe back to their own investigation about influence peddling.

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Biden claimed executive privilege over the audio recordings of his interviews with Hur on the eve of the committees’ meetings to vote over whether to hold Garland in contempt a detail that provides the attorney general cover from having to turn over the files. 

Republicans argue they need the audio for a broader investigation into whether Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings. They say it may shed light on whether Biden took action to limit prosecution of his son, or whether he sought to limit the scope of questions asked of him. 

Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting the audio to use for campaign commercials.

The Hill contributed to this report.