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DOJ Declines to Prosecute Contempt Referral of AG Garland, withholding Audio Recordings was not a crime

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The Justice Department announced on Friday that it would not take action on the House’s contempt referral of Attorney General Merrick Garland. The decision stems from the department’s longstanding policy of not prosecuting executive branch officials who withhold information from Congress on grounds of executive privilege.

In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, the DOJ emphasized this position, stating that Attorney General Garland’s responses to the subpoenas did not constitute a crime. Consequently, the department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or pursue any prosecution against Garland.

The announcement followed a mostly party-line vote in the House, where Garland was held in contempt for not turning over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview conducted by special counsel Robert Hur during an investigation into classified documents.

Republican lawmakers argued that access to the tapes would enhance transparency and oversight regarding the investigation into a sitting US president. Every Republican in the House, except Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, voted in favor of holding Garland in contempt.

The Justice Department has defended its decision to withhold the audio recordings, stating it was necessary to protect this and future investigations. However, the department did release transcripts of Biden’s interviews. Hur, in his description of the interviews, characterized Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

President Biden dismissed Hur’s report and the questions about his memory, asserting that the special counsel’s task was to decide on the potential for charges, which Hur ultimately did not pursue. Biden criticized any extraneous commentary as irrelevant to the report’s purpose.

CNN has sued for access to the audio recordings, arguing that transcripts are insufficient substitutes and that public access to the recordings is essential for forming independent conclusions about Hur’s characterization of Biden.

In response to the House vote, Garland expressed deep disappointment, accusing Republicans of weaponizing congressional authority for partisan purposes.

SOURCES: ASSOCIATED PRESS, CNN

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Biden Administration

Former Obama-Biden Advisor Claims “The First Amendment Is Out of Control,” Hinders Government Action

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In a controversial opinion piece published recently, Tim Wu, an advisor to both the Obama and Biden administrations, argued that the First Amendment is becoming a significant obstacle to effective governance. The essay, titled “The First Amendment is Out of Control,” has sparked widespread debate and criticism.

Wu’s argument centers on the assertion that the First Amendment, designed to protect free speech, is now being exploited by powerful entities, including Big Tech companies, to resist regulation and oversight. He cites recent Supreme Court rulings regarding Texas and Florida laws aimed at regulating social media platforms as examples of this exploitation.

According to Wu, the collaboration between the government and major social media platforms is often hindered by the First Amendment, which is used as a defense to protect free speech in digital public forums. He suggests that this constitutional protection is being misused to prevent necessary government action aimed at safeguarding citizens.

Critics, however, argue that Wu’s perspective misinterprets the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment. They contend that the amendment’s role is precisely to protect citizens from government overreach and censorship, ensuring that free speech remains a cornerstone of democracy. The idea that the First Amendment is an obstacle rather than a protector is seen by many as a dangerous and misguided interpretation.

Furthermore, Wu’s essay touches on the issue of banning platforms like TikTok and implementing age verification laws, such as California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code. He suggests that the First Amendment stands in the way of these actions, which he believes are necessary for national security and protecting minors online. Critics counter that these measures, if implemented, could set precedents for broader and potentially harmful censorship practices.

Wu’s reference to the First Amendment as a “suicide pact,” borrowing language from a 1949 dissenting opinion in the Terminiello v. City of Chicago case, underscores the dramatic tone of his argument. He suggests that the amendment, while intended to safeguard freedoms, can also be interpreted in ways that undermine societal safety and security.

In conclusion, Tim Wu’s essay has reignited the debate over the balance between free speech and governmental regulation. While Wu argues that the First Amendment’s current application hinders effective governance and protection of citizens, his critics maintain that the amendment is essential for safeguarding democratic principles and preventing government overreach. As this debate continues, the interpretation and application of the First Amendment remain at the forefront of discussions about free speech and public safety in the digital age.

SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES

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Biden Administration

DHS and FBI Issue Warning About Large Fourth of July Events as ‘Attractive’ Targets for

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning on Wednesday regarding potential threats to large Fourth of July celebrations. According to an internal bulletin obtained by ABC News, these events are considered “attractive” targets for lone offenders and small groups with malicious intentions.

The bulletin emphasizes the risk posed by individuals and small groups who might exploit the gatherings for terrorism or other harmful activities. The warning comes as the nation prepares for Independence Day festivities, which traditionally draw large crowds to public spaces.

The FBI and DHS are urging local law enforcement and event organizers to increase vigilance and security measures. The agencies highlight the importance of public awareness and cooperation, encouraging individuals to report any suspicious activities immediately.

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Biden is 7 Times More Popular with Ukrainians than Trump, Poll Reveals

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In a recent poll conducted by The Counteroffensive/Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, President Joe Biden emerges as significantly more popular among Ukrainians compared to former President Donald Trump. This inaugural poll offers insights into Ukrainian sentiment towards American leadership during their ongoing conflict with Russia.

According to The Hill, a striking 46.7 percent of Ukrainian respondents expressed a preference for President Biden as the leader they believe would better support Ukraine’s war effort. In contrast, only 6.5 percent of those polled favored Trump in this regard.

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