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Garland mocks House Oversight Committee over raucous contempt hearing

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday took a quick jab at the House Oversight and Reform Committee for devolving into highly publicized chaos last week during a markup to hold him in contempt of Congress.

When asked Thursday if he watched the Oversight Committee’s hearing last week, Garland quipped, “I caught part of that hearing on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”

Nearly an hour of disorder unfolded during the contempt markup when Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) clashed after the Georgia Republican accused Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) of wearing “fake eyelashes.”

Despite the disruption, the Oversight Committee eventually voted 24-20 to advance a measure to hold Garland in contempt of Congress in an attempt to censure him for failing to turn over audio recordings of the president speaking with special counsel Robert Hur. The House Judiciary Committee also passed the measure in a 18-15, party-line vote.

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” poked fun at the raucous meeting during its “Weekend Update” segment of last Saturday’s episode.

“But seriously, I am very disappointed,” Garland said of the vote during a Thursday press conference. “The Justice Department, as I’ve explained before, has gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate the legitimate interests of the committees.”

House Republicans have repeatedly sought the recordings from Hur’s interview with President Biden during his probe of the president’s handling of classified documents. Lawmakers already have the transcripts of the conversation, but GOP members argue the audio recordings will be more revealing, arguing pauses could speak to Hur’s commentary about the president’s cognitive functions or show a hesitancy to ask questions.

“I have released the full and unredacted report of Mr. Hur. We permitted Mr. Hur to testify for over five hours on everything that happened in connection with this investigation, and we provided the transcripts of the interviews in which the committee is interested,” Garland said.

Hours ahead of the committee’s markup hearings last week, Biden invoked his executive privilege to block House Republicans from obtaining the recordings.

Garland on Thursday maintained this was done to “protect the Justice Department’s ability in future investigations to get cooperation in high-profile cases, particularly involving the White House.”

The uproar during the Oversight hearing began after Greene asked if any Democrats on the panel were employing the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing former President Trump’s hush money trial in Manhattan. Republicans have repeatedly targeted his daughter for working at a progressive digital agency.

“Please tell me what that has to do with Merrick Garland,” Crockett asked, later adding, “do you know what we’re here for?”

“I don’t think you know what you’re here for,” Greene responded. “I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

Democrats immediately lambasted Greene for the comment, with Ocasio-Cortez yelling “that’s disgusting” and calling her remarks “absolutely unacceptable.”

A back-and-forth among Ocasio-Cortez, Greene and Crockett followed, with lawmakers occasionally stepping in to take jabs at the other side.

At one point, Crockett asked if a hypothetical comment — which appeared to be a jab at Greene — would break Congressional protocol.

“I’m just curious, just to better understand your ruling,” Crockett said, referring to a ruling House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) made about Greene’s comments. “If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody’s bleach blond bad built butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?”


Source: The Hill

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