Biden Invokes Exec. Privilege On Special Counsel Hur Recordings Following GOP Request For Its Release

President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of his meeting with the Combatant Commanders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2024, before hosting them for a dinner. At right is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden speaks at the beginning of his meeting with the Combatant Commanders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2024, before hosting them for a dinner. At right is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

OAN’s James Meyers
1:19 PM – Thursday, May 16, 2024

President Joe Biden is asserting his executive privilege by blocking House Republicans from receiving the audio files of his two-day interview with special counsel Robert Hur, which was part of the investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. 

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White House counsel Edward Siskel wrote a letter to House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) on Thursday, informing them of the decision to invoke executive privilege. 

“Because of the president’s longstanding commitment to protecting the integrity, effectiveness, and independence of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement investigations, he has decided to assert executive privilege over the recordings,” Siskel wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by National Review.

“The absence of a legitimate need for the audio recordings lays bare your likely goal—to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes,” he added, echoing the Justice Department’s assertions in its two previous rejections of House Republicans’ demand for the audio.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland requested that Biden assert executive privilege over the audio. In response, Republicans began holding markup hearings on holding the Attorney General in contempt for the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over the audio in accordance with congressional subpoenas. 

Nevertheless, the Justice Department hit back and maintained that Garland can’t be held in contempt of Congress.

“It is the longstanding position of the executive branch held by administrations of both parties that an official who asserts the President’s claim of executive privilege cannot be prosecuted for criminal contempt of Congress. With the information you now have, the Committees ought not to proceed with contempt and should instead avoid unnecessary and unwarranted conflict,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote in a separate letter on Thursday.

Despite Hur not recommending criminal charges for Biden, the investigation found that he “willfully” retained classified information following his vice presidency. 

In the report, Hur observed Biden’s struggle to remember the years he served as vice president and when his son Beau died. In response, Biden held a press conference upon the release of Hur’s report seeking to counter concerns about his age and cognition. During that press conference, Biden also confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project, in addition to several news outlets, are fighting the Justice Department in court over the Hur interview recordings. 

Comer made remarks on the investigation to the National Review outlet, labeling Biden’s tactics as a “hail Mary.” 

“It’s a five-alarm fire at the White House. Clearly President Biden and his advisors fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline,” Comer said. “The White House is asserting executive privilege over the recordings, but it has already waived privilege by releasing the transcript of the interview. Today’s Hail Mary from the White House changes nothing for our committee.”

Furthermore, Comer said on Thursday morning that the panel would continue with the contempt angle regardless of the executive privilege claim by Biden. 

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