JUST IN: Rep. Anna Paulina Luna Hits Merrick Garland With Major Ultimatum


The atmosphere is tense in Washington as Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) heightened the conflict between congressional Republicans and the Justice Department. A resolute figure in her party, Luna drew a line in the sand with Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is no stranger to controversy due to his contentious Supreme Court nomination under the Obama administration.

Luna took the next step in her crusade by issuing an ultimatum to Garland, demanding compliance with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee. Failure to comply, she said on Wednesday, would lead to a vote on an “inherent contempt” measure, a rarely invoked but potent tool within the congressional arsenal.

“We are here today because of the double standard that exists within the justice system,” Luna said during today’s press briefing. “On February 27th, the Oversight Committee, as well as the House Judiciary, had sent a subpoena to Attorney General Garland, to which we received no response. And after referring him for criminal contempt, within 48 hours or less, the Department of Justice refused to prosecute.”

The inherent contempt process, first used in 1795 and affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1927, empowers Congress to enforce its subpoenas through its own authority, potentially allowing for the detention of individuals who defy it. The measure has not been used in nearly a century, but Luna seemed to signal a willingness to resurrect the dormant power.

“Why should the Attorney General, who is supposed to be head of all law enforcement authorities, be any different?” Luna questioned. “Garland still has time to comply with this request. We are asking that he bring the tapes to the House and let us listen to them. But in the event that he does not, we will press forward with calling the privilege motion on inherent contempt to the floor on Friday morning.”


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The controversy stems from the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Garland after House Republicans voted to hold him in contempt of Congress. The refusal to turn over audio recordings from Joe Biden’s special counsel interview has been a particular point of contention.

Significant resistance exists among Republicans regarding the measure, however, and there should be enough opposition to potentially defeat it, given the GOP’s slim majority. This has been confirmed by various lawmakers. During the Republicans’ weekly leadership meeting, one House Republican disclosed to Axios, “People in the room don’t want it to happen.”

Another Republican lawmaker anticipates only a “medium-sized minority” of House Republicans, possibly between 60 to 80 votes, will support the bill, describing it as “an extreme tool.” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has stated that Republicans intend to pursue legal action to compel compliance with their subpoena from Garland.

Garland has asserted executive privilege — a defense not granted to former Trump White House officials Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro — while Garland’s own department published a memo explaining that he cannot be prosecuted. After Garland’s dismissal of congressional contempt proceedings, Luna stated that she had no choice but to force a vote on inherent contempt.

“For Congress to legislate effectively, we must have access to the information that will enable us to make informed decisions,” Luna wrote in a letter to her colleagues on Monday. “When Congress is denied this crucial information, we are left to navigate complex issues in the dark.”

After Garland refused to hand over the tapes, the House voted to hold him in contempt by a vote of 216 to 207. After Garland’s DOJ published the memo claiming he could not be prosecuted, Rep. Luna vowed to explore other options, including the inherent contempt vote.

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