Fri. May 24th, 2024

Judge berates DOJ over Republican subpoenas in Hunter Biden probe

By 37ci3 Apr6,2024



WASHINGTON — A federal judge slammed him Department of Justice As he instructed his two employees on Friday not appearing for depositions As part of the Republican-led impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.

“The rules apply to all of you,” U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes told Justice Department lawyers during a hearing to discuss DOJ tax attorneys defying congressional subpoenas.

House Judiciary Committee sued Last month, two attorneys worked to compel their testimony in the panel’s investigation Hunter Biden. Mark Daly and Jack Morgan in the Department of Justice’s tax division, the lawsuit alleges refused to obey With subpoenas in the committee’s investigation into whether the president’s son received “special treatment” from the Justice Department and whether Biden abused his presidential powers to “obstruct, obstruct or otherwise influence” investigations into his son.

Daly and Morgan were called up twice. They were supposed to testify on March 1, but they did not appear.

On Friday, Reyes pointed out that the Justice Department is trying to file criminal charges against one defendant for failing to respond to a congressional subpoena, which could lead to prison terms.

He appeared to be referring to former Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who turned himself in to federal prison last month to begin serving time. four months imprisonment. He was convicted of contempt of Congress non-compliance At the call of the House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 committee.

Friday’s hearing was the first appearance by attorneys for the Justice Department and the House Judiciary Committee since last month’s lawsuit.

“I think the reason we’re all here is probably because you’re upset that they want to depose two lawyers,” Reyes said. “And the reason we’re all here is because you all don’t think your lawyer should be exposed to a deposition.”

Justice Department attorney James Gilligan pushed back at that characterization.

“We have separation of powers concerns about Congress attempting to question line attorneys in an open criminal investigation,” Gilligan told the judge.

“Are you concerned that people like the DoJ willfully don’t show up to serve subpoenas? For issuing subpoenas? Because it seems to me that if I were you, I would be very worried about it,” Reyes replied.

If removed, Daley and Morgan would have valid privileged objections to many of the committee’s questions, he noted.

“If they’re not going to say anything, it’s not interference,” Reyes said. “They will protest everything. What is interference? This is a day of their time. Well, you’re taking up a bunch of my time.”

The Justice Department routinely requires subpoena recipients to undergo hours of questioning to invoke the Fifth Amendment on a question-by-question basis, Reyes said. “You make many arguments that you would never accept from any other litigant,” he said.

Reyes also lashed out at a lawyer representing the House Judiciary Committee, saying the GOP-led panel wasted taxpayer money by filing a lawsuit last month.

“I don’t think the taxpayers want to fund a grudge match between the executive and the legislature over whether or not someone should come to the call, and at the end of the day, none of that will be decided when.” soon,” he said. “I’m sure you’re not keeping the impeachment inquiry open long enough for the DC Circuit to make a decision.”

Reyes ordered Gilligan and House Counsel Matthew Berry, along with two witnesses, to meet Wednesday to negotiate a compromise.

If no compromise is reached, Reyes has threatened to subpoena two witnesses at future hearings to answer questions about whether Gilligan and Berry negotiated in good faith. In addition, the parties will be required to provide estimates of how many hours attorneys will spend working on the case so Reyes can track how much the case is costing taxpayers.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the hearing, citing the ongoing litigation. The House Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

The House GOP impeachment inquiry has produced no evidence that the president committed a crime. James Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee and one of the leaders of the inquiry, recently suggested that criminal appeals instead of impeachment is the more likely outcome of the investigation. He argued that the impeachment trial would likely fail in the Senate, while criminal appeals could be sent to the Justice Department if former President Donald Trump wins in November.

Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant whose allegations played a major role in sparking the investigation, recently suffered a significant setback in the investigation. was accused and is accused of providing false information to the FBI about Biden and his son during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Daniel Barnes reported from Washington, DC and Zoe Richards reported from New York.



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