Biden takes action to prevent disclosure of audio recording of his classified documents interview with special counsel Hur

President Joe Biden has asserted executive privilege over audio recordings of his interview with special counsel Robert Hur, the Republican federal prosecutor who declined to recommend charges against the president over his handling of classified documents. Hur cited that one reason not to bring a case against Biden is that the president could portray himself as an elderly man with a poor memory, which Biden defended against. Attorney General Merrick Garland later deemed it absurd to block Hur’s language about the president’s memory.

The decision to assert executive privilege was communicated to Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan by White House counsel Ed Siskel. Garland recommended that Biden assert executive privilege, stating that the audio recordings fall within its scope and releasing them to Congress would undermine the Department’s ability to conduct similar high-profile criminal investigations.

House Republicans have been using their platform to undermine the criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump and attack Biden ahead of their 2024 election rematch. While transcripts of Biden’s interview have been released, the Jan. 6 committee believes that audio and visuals have a stronger impact on the American public than written reports.

The push for the release of the audio recordings under the Freedom of Information Act has gained support from news outlets, advocating for transparency in the investigation. Former U.S. Attorney John Fishwick believes that full transparency should be promoted by releasing the audio recordings of Biden’s interviews with Special Counsel Hur.

Comparisons have been drawn to past investigations, such as President Bill Clinton testifying before a federal grand jury in 1998 and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sitting down with the FBI during the investigation into her handling of classified documents. President Trump did not sit down with then-special counsel Robert Mueller during the investigation into Russian interference, a decision that he believed paid off in his favor.

House Speaker Mike Johnson criticized Biden for using executive privilege to defend himself politically, while Johnson’s stance differed after the Mueller probe ended in 2019. The House Oversight Committee was expected to hold a hearing to consider contempt charges against Garland, but the Trump trial took precedence, forcing a rescheduling of the hearing.

Overall, the assertion of executive privilege by President Biden over the audio recordings of his interview with special counsel Robert Hur has sparked debate and calls for transparency in the investigation. The implications of this decision on future investigations and political discourse remain to be seen.

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