White House Refuses to Release Biden’s Special Counsel Interview Audio, Accuses GOP of Playing Politics

President Joe Biden has claimed executive privilege over the audio recording of his interview with special counsel Robert Hur, which is at the center of a Republican effort to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. The Justice Department informed lawmakers of this decision on Thursday.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the Judiciary Committee are expected to hold hearings recommending that Garland be referred to the Justice Department for contempt charges due to the department’s refusal to release the audio.

Garland, in a letter to Biden, stated that the audio is covered by executive privilege and that the committee’s request does not outweigh the potential negative impact on law enforcement investigations in the future.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte urged lawmakers to avoid unnecessary conflict by not proceeding with the contempt effort, citing the executive branch’s longstanding position that officials asserting executive privilege cannot be held in contempt.

In a separate letter, White House Counsel Ed Siskel criticized lawmakers for their attempt to obtain the recording, suggesting their motives are partisan. The White House is concerned that releasing the audio could be used to distort and manipulate Biden’s words for political purposes.

The transcript of the interview showed Biden struggling with some details but displaying deep recall in other areas. Biden’s age, 81, is a sensitive topic as he considers running for another term.

Hur’s investigation found evidence that Biden retained and shared classified information with a ghostwriter, but concluded it was not sufficient for criminal charges.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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