Luna’s bid to force Garland to hand over Biden-Hur tapes fails in House

House Democrats and some Republicans joined together to block Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s bid to fine Attorney General Merrick Garland $10,000 per day until he released audio tapes of President Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

Democrats failed to block the resolution from hitting the floor on Wednesday evening, setting up a vote on the measure for Thursday.

Luna has for weeks threatened to force a vote on holding Garland in ‘inherent contempt’ and appealed to both Republicans and Democrats to support the effort, citing concerns about Biden’s mental acuity spurred by his disastrous performance in the CNN Presidential Debate.

Her initial bill would have directed the House sergeant-at-arms to arrest Garland in order for the chamber to hold its own trial. It is a little-known procedure, not invoked since the 1930s, that has never been used on a Cabinet official.

Luna agreed to delay forcing the vote until this week after discussing the matter with House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. 

She also modified her bill to fine Garland instead of arresting him.

A Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson said in response to the GOP effort, ‘This is unconstitutional. We are confident our arguments would prevail in court.’ 

Republicans have been seeking the audio tapes of Biden’s interview in Hur’s classified documents probe for months as part of their impeachment inquiry into the president. 

House GOP lawmakers, some of whom long held that Biden is not mentally fit for office, voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress last month for his refusal to turn over audio tapes of Hur’s interview with Biden on his handling of classified documents. The DOJ has refused to prosecute, citing Biden’s decision to call for executive privilege over the tapes.

Democrats have also pointed out that the full transcript is already available and have bashed the effort as nakedly partisan.

However, Republicans argue that the tapes would provide necessary context about Biden’s mental acuity that could not be gleaned from the transcript.

Some GOP lawmakers reignited those calls in the wake of Biden’s debate performance late last month. 

The 81-year-old president spoke with a hoarse voice, reportedly due to a cold, and stumbled over his own answers several times during the primetime event. Viewers also observed him appearing tired and noticeably less sharp than he looked the last time he faced former President Trump in 2020.

The House GOP also sued Garland last week in order to obtain the tapes, with the lawsuit being led by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

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