FLASHBACK: Merrick Garland refuses to respond to congressional subpoenas he deems 'illegitimate'

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon is preparing to do prison time for not complying with a congressional subpoena issued by the January 6 Committee.

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In May, Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to hand over the audio of Joe Biden's interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur to the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, arguing that he didn't have to comply with congressional subpoenas if he didn't believe they were "legitimate."

Now, less than a month later, former Trump adviser and political commentator Steve Bannon is preparing to do jail time for not complying with a congressional subpoena issued by the January 6 Committee.



"The Justice Department is a fundamental institution of our democracy," Garland said at the time. "People depend on us to ensure that our investigations and our prosecutions are conducted according to the facts and the law and without political influence."

"We have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the committees get responses to their legitimate requests," he added, referring to the Hur transcript, before suggesting that the demand for the audio file was "not one" and "would harm our ability in the future to successfully pursue sensitive investigations."

Garland defended the DOJ's decision to withhold the audio by arguing that Biden had made "a protective assertion of privilege" to keep it out of Congress' hands. The Judiciary and Oversight Committees voted to hold him in contempt, but the measure has yet to be approved by the House.

Appearing before Congress in June, Garland once again called the request "illegitimate," and slammed Republicans who threatened to hold him in contempt for failing to abide. He also maintained that there was no bias in the justice system.

The latter sentiment echoed that which Garland espoused when Bannon was indicted on contempt charges in November 2021.

"Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law," he wrote. "Today's charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles."

Bannon had been subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee to appear for a deposition and produce documents related to the events that led up to the storming of the Capitol. He argued that the documents sought were under executive privilege, and was subsequently charged with contempt.

In July 2022, Bannon was found guilty and sentenced to 120 days in prison, however, a judge suspended his sentence pending appeal. Attorney David Schoen argued that Donald Trump had invoked executive privilege on October 5, 2021, preventing Bannon from testifying, and that his lawyer, Robert Costello, informed him the former president's assertion couldn't be waived.

Nonetheless, the sentence was upheld, and on Thursday, he was ordered to report to prison on July 1.

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Comments

Stephen

What is he, almost as brain dead as his boss? Or maybe he thinks that no one can make him responsible for his actions? He must believe his name is Zeus, that he can single handedly decide what is relevant or legitimate. I'd venture to guess that some day his moment of reality will kick him in his butt. Then his head will really hurt.

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