Biden Asserts Executive Privilege Remaining Over Hur Interview Evidence

( – When President Joe Biden left the vice presidency in 2021, he reportedly brought some classified documents with him. He reported that his staff found some in his office in 2022 and returned them to the National Archives. A subsequent voluntary search of his home by the FBI turned up more documents and the Department of Justice launched a probe. Special Counsel Robert Hur eventually decided not to pursue charges and issued his final report.

House Republicans now want the audio tapes of Biden’s interview with Hur as they believe the recordings could prove Biden’s age has caught up to him. The Department of Justice refused to hand them over and the president has now asserted executive privilege. The GOP is going after the attorney general as a result.

Executive Privilege

The House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee want access to the audio recordings. Their respective chairmen, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY), demanded the Department of Justice turn them over. The DOJ has already released the transcripts of the interview between the president and special counsel, which led to a great deal of controversy for the President.

On May 16, Counsel to the President Edward Siskel sent a letter to Comer and Jordan informing them that Biden was asserting executive privilege over the audio files. The White House counsel explained that Attorney General Merrick Garland recommended the president do so. He said that throughout Biden’s time in the Oval Office, he has made it clear that the Department of Justice is an independent agency in the executive branch.

Siskel went on to say the POTUS “has a duty to safeguard the integrity and independence” of the federal law enforcement agencies to “protect them from undue partisan interference” that could hurt them in the future. He accused the lawmakers of failing to produce a legitimate need for the audio recordings and said it appeared they wanted to “chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes.”

Attorney General Speaks Out

Garland also sent a letter to the committee chairs. He told them he would not send the audio recordings to them because it could hurt future investigations. The AG pointed out that the DOJ is able to conduct investigations with voluntary cooperation with White House officials because of mutual respect, but violating the trust would hinder them the next time they needed that cooperation.

The Judiciary Committee responded by voting to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over the recordings. Lawmakers sent the recommendation to the full House. It’s unclear when Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) will hold a vote on it.

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