MIL-OSI USA: Ranking Member Nadler Floor Statement on Attorney General Garland Contempt Resolution

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jerrold Nadler (10th District of New York)

Today, Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following floor statement, as prepared, in opposition to the resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress:

“M_. Speaker, the Judiciary Committee, under Republican control, has spent the last 18 months, and twenty million taxpayer dollars, in a desperate search to find something—anything—that they can use to damage President Biden and to protect Donald Trump. 

Other committees have gotten into the act as well, spending untold taxpayer money, not to benefit the American people—not to feed hungry children, not to address our housing crisis, and not to improve our healthcare system—but on a single-minded quest to follow every right-wing conspiracy theory in the vain hope that it might lead to some evidence of wrongdoing.

And what exactly have they delivered to the American people on their investment?

Nothing.  No evidence that the conspiracies are true.  No indictments.  No impeachment.  No wins of any significance.

And the Republican Leadership knows that if they don’t come up with something to show for the millions of dollars they have spent, the MAGA political base may stay home next November.

So, they are scrambling in a desperate attempt to look like they have accomplished something.  They were fervently hoping that Special Counsel Hur would indict President Biden for mishandling classified documents, so that they could attack President Biden and misdirect the American people away from Donald Trump’s treacherous handling of classified information.

But the Special Counsel cleared Mr. Biden of wrongdoing—for reasons that have nothing to do with Mr. Hur’s gratuitous and widely contradicted comments about the President’s memory.

So, what do our Republican friends do when an investigation turns up short?  Simply put, they engage in fantasy.

That’s what they are doing here today.  Unable to come up with any wrongdoing by the President, they have now trained their sights on the Attorney General.  They accuse him of withholding key evidence, but the Attorney General has substantially complied with their every request.  Sometimes he has been too responsive, in my opinion, given the obvious bad faith of the MAGA majority.

DOJ has produced 92,000 pages of documents since Republicans took control of the House last year, and has made dozens of witnesses available for interviews, hearings, and briefings.  That’s more pages of documents and more witnesses than the Trump Justice Department produced to Congress in four years.  Just last week, the Attorney General himself spent more than five hours testifying before the Judiciary Committee. 

With respect to the subpoena at issue in this contempt resolution, the Department turned over all the information Republicans asked for.  There has been no obstruction, only cooperation. 

In reality, the Attorney General and DOJ have been fully responsive to Congress in every way that might be material to their long-dead impeachment inquiry. 

All that remains are audio files for which the President has asserted executive privilege. 

In a letter to Chairmen Jordan and Comer, the Department of Justice noted that producing the audio recordings would “raise an unacceptable risk of undermining the Department’s ability to conduct … high-profile criminal investigations – in particular, investigations where the voluntary cooperation of the White House officials is exceedingly important.”

The Chairmen claim that they need these records to understand the pauses, pace, and tone of the conversation.  This is absurd and clearly pretextual, and in any event, it does not outweigh the substantial concerns expressed by the President and the Department.

Moreover, with respect to the recording at issue in this report, a complete certified transcript has already been provided to both Committees. 

And no credible allegation has been made that these transcripts have been altered in any material way.  The only thing that has not been produced is the recording itself—something that, in the wrong hands, can be easily manipulated.

This is not an idle concern. Deepfakes and misleadingly edited videos and recordings have proliferated in recent years.  Last year, a witness testifying in a closed-door deposition told us that she was the victim of a manipulated video made by a third party but shared widely by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, who refused to take down the video even after it was abundantly clear that it was manipulated.  That video contributed to a flood of death threats against the witness.

This isn’t really about a policy disagreement with the DOJ.  This is about feeding the MAGA base after 18 months of investigations that have produced failure after failure.

Like most of the bills House Republicans have pushed on purely partisan lines, this contempt resolution will do very little—other than smear the reputation of Merrick Garland, who will remain a good and decent public servant no matter what Republicans say about him today. 

This resolution may boost Donald Trump’s spirits before his sentencing, but it will almost certainly not convince the Department of Justice to produce the one remaining file in question.

Like the broader impeachment effort before it, this contempt resolution will have been a partisan stunt, destined to fail from the very start.

The American people actually need us to do important work.  I’m tired of these games, and so are the American people.  I urge my colleagues to oppose this measure, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

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