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Biden-appointed federal judge rips into DOJ for rank hypocrisy on ignoring subpoenas: 'Are you kidding me?'
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Biden-appointed federal judge rips into DOJ for rank hypocrisy on ignoring subpoenas: 'Are you kidding me?'

A federal judge condemned the Justice Department on Friday for directing two employees to ignore subpoenas issued by House Republicans.

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to compel DOJ attorneys Mark Daly and Jack Morgan to provide their testimony for the committee's impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Both staff attorneys work in the DOJ Tax Division and were involved in the department's investigation of Hunter Biden's alleged tax crimes.

The DOJ has blocked the pair from testifying because officials believe that compelling line attorneys to testify about an ongoing case would be a constitutional violation.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes, a Biden appointee, signaled that she may agree with the substance of the DOJ's argument, Politico reported. On the other hand, she condemned the DOJ for outright ignoring the subpoenas.

"There's a person in jail right now because you all brought a criminal lawsuit against him because he did not appear for a House subpoena," Reyes told DOJ attorney James Gilligan.

Reyes was referring to Peter Navarro, a former adviser to Donald Trump. Navarro began serving a four-month prison term last month after he was convicted of not complying with a subpoena issued by the House Jan. 6 committee.

"I think it’s quite rich you guys pursue criminal investigations and put people in jail for not showing up," Reyes told the DOJ. "You all are making a bunch of arguments that you would never accept from any other litigant."

Reyes, moreover, scolded the DOJ's position as fruitful for defense attorneys who represent clients accused of flouting subpoenas.

"I imagine that there are hundreds, if not thousands of defense attorneys ... who would be happy to hear that DOJ's position is: If you don’t agree with a subpoena, if you believe it’s unconstitutional or unlawful, you can unilaterally not show up," she said.

At one point, Reyes expressed astonishment when the DOJ refused to say whether it would permit Daly and Morgan to testify if the House agreed to let government counsel accompany them.

"Are you kidding me?!" she exclaimed.

The tongue-lashing aside, Reyes suggested Congress is unlikely to extract anything substantive from Daly or Morgan. As line attorneys overseeing daily legal responsibilities, their testimony "would be subject to multiple layers of privilege, from prosecutorial privilege to executive privilege," Courthouse News Service explained.

Even so, Reyes said the attorneys still need to show up and participate in the process — even if that means asserting privilege for each individual question.

The DOJ, Reyes noted, requires that bare minimum level of participation from others "seven days a week ... and twice on Sunday."

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Chris Enloe

Chris Enloe

Staff Writer

Chris Enloe is a staff writer for Blaze News
@chrisenloe →