House Oversight Committee Postpones Hearing So Members Can Go To Donald Trump's Trial

WASHINGTON ― The House Oversight Committee postponed a meeting Thursday so that Republican committee members could attend former president Donald Trump’s trial in New York.

The committee was supposed to meet at 10 a.m. to vote on a contempt citation against Attorney General Merrick Garland, but Republicans delayed the markup until 8 p.m. because several lawmakers planned to stand behind Trump instead.

House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has used the committee to try and tear down President Joe Biden while boosting Trump, but Thursday was the first time Comer organized committee business around Trump’s schedule.

A number of Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), have ditched Washington to pay Trump a visit at some point during his trial, echoing the former president’s claims that he’s merely the victim of a Democratic witch hunt.

On Thursday, Oversight members Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) joined a broader contingent of Republicans in Manhattan, potentially creating enough absences in the hearing room for Democrats to defeat the contempt resolution against Garland.

“Due to member schedule conflicts, the markup is now starting at a different time to accommodate members’ schedules,” a committee spokesperson said in an email.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: (L-R) Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) look on as former U.S. President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16, 2024 in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)

Thursday’s markup was a chance for Republicans to set up a planned House floor vote next week to hold Garland in contempt of Congress. Their reason: The Justice Department has refused to hand over audio recordings of Biden’s interviews with former special counsel Robert Hur, who investigated Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. The department has previously given lawmakers a transcript of the interviews, but Republicans want the audio to highlight instances of Biden being, as Hur described him, an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The House Judiciary went ahead with its own markup of the Garland contempt resolution on Thursday since the absence of Biggs and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) did not imperil the panel’s Republican majority.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) mocked Republicans for their day trip to New York.

“Cool. You’re paid to be here in Washington legislating, it’s the middle of a work week,” Crockett said on social media. “I guess we’ll hold down the fort for you while you’re tapdancing on Broadway.”