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Garland mocks House Oversight Committee over raucous contempt hearing

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday sharply criticized the House Oversight Committee for its highly publicized embarrassment last week as it deliberated filing a contempt of Congress case against him.

Asked Thursday if he watched last week’s Oversight Committee hearing, Garland joked, “I saw parts of that hearing on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”

Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York clashed after the two senators accused Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a Democrat from Texas, of wearing “fake eyelashes,” sparking nearly an hour of chaos during the contempt markup.

Despite the confusion, the Oversight Committee ultimately voted 24-20 to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over recordings of the president’s conversations with Special Counsel Robert Hur. The House Judiciary Committee also passed the bill on a party-line vote of 18-15.

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” Making fun of the noisy meeting during the “Weekend Update” segment of last Saturday’s episode.

“But seriously, I’m very disappointed,” Garland said of the vote during a press conference Thursday. “The Department of Justice, as I’ve explained previously, has gone to extraordinary lengths to respect the committee’s legitimate interests.”

House Republicans have repeatedly called for an audio recording of the interview that Huh conducted during their investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents. Lawmakers already have a transcript of the conversation, but Republicans argue an audio recording would be more revealing because it could include what Huh said about the president’s cognitive function and pauses that may indicate hesitation in response to questions.

“I have released Mr. Heo’s report in its entirety, without any redactions, allowed Mr. Heo to testify for more than five hours about everything that happened in connection with this investigation, and provided the committee with transcripts of interviews of interest to the committee,” Garland said.

Hours before the committee’s amendment hearing last week, Biden invoked executive privilege to block House Republicans from obtaining the recordings.

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

The uproar at the Oversight committee hearing began when Greene asked whether any Democrats employ the daughter of Manhattan Judge Juan Marchan, who is overseeing former President Trump’s hush-money trial. Republicans have repeatedly targeted Marchan’s daughter for working for a progressive digital agency.

“Tell me what that has to do with Merrick Garland,” Crockett asked. “Do you know what we came here for?”

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

Democrats were quick to slam Greene’s comments, with Ocasio-Cortez calling them “horrible” and saying her comments were “completely unacceptable.”

A back-and-forth between Ocasio-Cortez, Greene and Crockett ensued, with lawmakers occasionally stepping in to criticize each other.

At one point, Crockett asked whether hypothetical comments supposedly criticizing Greene violated congressional practice.

“I just want to understand your ruling better,” Crockett said, referring to House Audit Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.)’s ruling on Greene’s comments. “If somebody on this committee starts talking about somebody’s bleach-blond, burly, manly body, that’s not an ad hominem attack, is it?”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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