Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Anna Paulina Luna Pushes Garland to Fine Her $10,000 a Day for Failed Biden and Hur Tapes

By meerna Jul12,2024
Anna Paulina Luna Pushes Garland to Fine Her ,000 a Day for Failed Biden and Hur Tapes

Congresswoman Anna Luna (R-Fla.) speaks to reporters during a press conference Wednesday, June 26, 2024, to discuss the upcoming vote to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland for contempt of Congress for failing to release video and audio recordings of Special Counsel Robert Hurr’s interview with President Biden.

The House on Thursday rejected a resolution to find Attorney General Merrick Garland guilty of “unconscionable contempt” of Congress and fine him $10,000 for each day he fails to turn over audio recordings of President Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) has spearheaded the effort, forcing a vote on the matter despite the objections of GOP leaders who prefer to try to obtain the recordings through other means, such as legal means.

The resolution failed on the floor by a vote of 204-210. Four House Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the resolution: Reps. John Duarte (R-Calif.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio). Republican absences apparently affected the outcome.

Luna told reporters after the vote that she had re-filed the resolution and planned to reconsider it, adding that some Republicans present yesterday had left due to family emergencies and expressing confidence that the resolution would pass in the future.

Two test votes taken the day before indicated the resolution had potential. The measure defeated two attempts to effectively kill it: a motion to postpone failed by a vote of 207-209, and a motion to refer the resolution to the Rules Committee failed by a vote of 207-211, with four Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting it.

Luna softened her stance from the original contempt decision, which would have ordered the House sergeant at arms to arrest and detain Garland for refusing to turn over the taped interview with Biden.

The decision follows concerns from Democrats about Biden’s age and ability to deliver messages following his poor performance in a debate two weeks ago.

In a report detailing why he will not charge Biden over his handling of classified documents, the special counsel said any jury would likely see Biden as “an older man with a poor memory,” citing excerpts from an October interview in which Biden had trouble remembering dates and key arguments he made.

Luna had been pushing for the rarely used inherent contempt rule — which allows Congress to directly enforce its will rather than rely on the executive branch to do so — even before this debate.

However, Republican Party leaders have expressed concerns about the legality and enforcement methods of the law and have taken other steps to obtain the Biden-Hur recording.

Last month, the House found Garland in “simple” contempt of court for refusing to turn over the tapes of the interview. The Department of Justice (DOJ) responded by saying it would not prosecute Garland, the head of the agency, because Biden had claimed executive privilege over the tapes. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit to force Garland to turn over the tapes.

The Justice Department has already provided the House with a written transcript of the conversation. Republicans argue that because the Justice Department provided the transcript, it cannot withhold the audio recording, which it says it needs to ensure the accuracy of the record.

On the floor of the House of Representatives, Luna argued that invoking contempt is a way for Congress to exert its power and will when the executive branch is unwilling to implement it.

“Contrary to what my colleagues may think, this is not a stupid idea, but it is actually our constitutional duty and it is within our legislative powers to confirm the powers of the House in this way,” Luna told the House.

Her comment echoed comments made by House Rules Committee member Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts).

“It’s a stupid resolution,” McGovern said on the House floor. “The Republican leadership knows it’s a stupid resolution. Their own members know it’s a stupid resolution. But they are beholden to the craziest MAGA members in their conference.”

“Let’s be realistic. Republicans want to get these recordings because they think (the Republican National Committee) can use them in attack ads,” McGovern said, also criticizing GOP members who ignored Jan. 6 subpoenas from the selection committee in the last Congress.

McGovern’s comments led to several minutes of arguments on the House floor, apparently over whether his “stupid” comment violated House rules, and to a request to strike his comments from the record. McGovern ultimately granted that request.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) explained his concerns at a news conference Tuesday.

“As a constitutional lawyer, a former constitutional lawyer, I prefer to follow the legal process and the legal proceedings that protect the institution,” Johnson said at a news conference Tuesday. “I have a moment of hesitation, frankly, in presenting an Article One question to an Article Three body — a federal judicial branch, a judicial branch — whether they think we have the authority to enforce a subpoena in this unconventional way.”

But despite these concerns, Johnson said: “If it comes to a vote, I will vote for it.”

Luna, however, has garnered support for her innate contempt initiative from former President Trump, who wrote on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday: “I AGREE with Anna Paulina Luna and many members of the House of Representatives who believe Merrick Garland should be held accountable for INHERENT CONSTANT CONTEST for refusing to release the Biden tapes despite being subpoenaed!”

By meerna

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