House Republicans are gearing up to hold Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. Here’s why.

House Republicans will ramp up their fight with the Biden administration’s Department of Justice as early as Wednesday, preparing to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

The lower chamber is expected to vote on the contempt resolution as retaliation after the Department of Justice refused to hand over recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur. Hur investigated whether Biden mishandled classified documents after his tenure as vice president but ultimately didn’t recommend any criminal charges.

House Republicans’ contempt push against Garland includes a referral to the U.S. attorney of the District of Columbia for criminal prosecution. That will almost certainly not happen even if the House passes the effort, but GOP investigators could sue the Justice Department to obtain the audio recordings, which would spark a lengthy legal battle.

Still, given Republicans’ razor-thin majority in the House, where the GOP can generally only afford to lose a couple of votes, there’s consternation among lawmakers about whether the contempt effort will pass. While the lower chamber is scheduled to hold the vote Wednesday, Republican leaders could pull the resolution if they lack the necessary votes in order to avoid a public, embarrassing defeat.

Republicans advanced contempt resolutions out of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees last month. But leaders already held back a full vote in the House to hold Garland in contempt after a handful of moderate GOP lawmakers were skeptical about picking another fight with the justice systemTheir concerns come as Republicans continue to rail against New York prosecutors after former President Donald Trump was convicted in his New York hush money trial.

For their part, GOP leaders have publicly projected that they can corral their unwieldy conference to pass the resolution.

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Meanwhile, Garland accused Republicans of launching growing attacks against the Department of Justice in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday morning.

“We will not be intimidated,” Garland wrote, adding “It is absurd and dangerous that public servants, many of whom risk their lives every day, are being threatened for simply doing their jobs and adhering to the principles that have long guided the Justice Department’s work.”

Republicans, led by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have sought Biden’s interview audio for months after Hur’s report characterized the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Comer and Jordan argued the recording is necessary for their ongoing impeachment inquiry into the president, but the DOJ refused to provide it. Officials told Republicans the department has already shared the transcript of the interview, along with other relevant documents from the investigation.

To hand over the audio recordings, the Justice Department argued, risks endangering future investigations if subjects think their interviews could be released publicly. In a further step to shield the recordings, Biden asserted executive privilege over the audio last month.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel determined the recording falls under executive privilege, and Garland shouldn’t be punished for following the president’s order to keep the recording confidential, according to Carlos Uriarte, an associate attorney general.

Democratic lawmakers have echoed the DOJ’s sentiments in recent days. For example, Rep. Jamie Raksin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, scoffed at the GOP’s argument that the audio could provide new territory for their impeachment inquiry. The investigation has yet to turn up evidence supporting accusations Biden abused his public office for his family’s foreign business dealings.

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