Rep. Donalds Floats Holding Garland in Contempt for Concealing Biden Tapes

Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) suggested Monday that House Republicans should hold U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt unless he releases the audio tapes of President Joe Biden’s interview during last year’s classified documents investigation. The interview, conducted by Special Counsel Robert Hur, was the subject of a damning report last February that found the President to be in poor mental fitness. On Monday, Garland announced the Department of Justice would withhold audio of the interview and urged Republicans “to avoid conflict rather than seek it.”

During an appearance on Newsmax’s ‘Rob Schmitt Tonight,’ Donalds accused Garland of obstructing justice to help Biden’s election efforts. The Florida Republican floated the possibility of holding Garland in contempt unless he released the audio of the now-infamous interview.

“This goes back to a major issue. I believe that Merrick Garland has been the one who has obstructed justice on behalf of the President of the United States,” Donalds told host Rob Schmitt.

“If you look at the way that main Justice [Department] was handling the Hunter Biden investigation before House Oversight started doing their own investigations, it would demonstrate to you that they were basically holding the bag, slowing everything down so that they can get through the election. And then after the election, then who cares at that point. That’s what they were trying to do.”

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Donalds described the move by Garland as setting a “terrible precedent.” He compared the DOJ’s scramble to conceal the Biden tapes with Democrats’ efforts to impeach then-President Donald Trump in 2019 for his phone call with the Ukrainian President.

“I think that Merrick Garland withholding this audio recording from Congress is frankly a terrible precedent,” the Florida Congressman said.

“Consider the fact that you had Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats impeach Donald Trump over a phone call with [Ukrainian President] Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Donald Trump releases the transcript, and they’re saying, ‘Oh, yes, see, this proves it,’ knowing that the transcript absolved Donald Trump, and that’s how crazy and radical the Democrats are.”

“You compare that to the fact that Merrick Garland won’t release an audio recording of the President of the United States? That is a mockery, and it is a shame,” Donalds continued. “He should be held in contempt if he doesn’t comply.”

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President Biden, who turns 82 this year, has been scrutinized throughout his term for repeated lapses in memory. Concerns over his age intensified in February when a report by DOJ Special Counsel Robert Hur found that Biden had suffered from a “hazy” and “poor” memory while being interviewed over his mishandling of classified documents.

Biden reportedly had difficulties recalling several significant events in his own life, including the death of his son Beau in 2015 and his time in the White House serving as Vice President.

Hur ultimately recommended against prosecuting Biden for mishandling classified documents, writing, “It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

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