Biden Invokes Executive Privilege on Special Counsel Interview Audio

House GOP Clashes Over Key Biden Interview Recordings.

by Nouman Rasool
Biden Invokes Executive Privilege on Special Counsel Interview Audio
© Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Justice Department said President Joe Biden has invoked executive privilege to prevent House Republicans from obtaining an audio recording of an interview he gave to special counsel Robert Hur. The move comes as the special counsel wraps up a case into Biden's handling of classified documents in an investigation that didn't recommend criminal charges.

The move was seen as an assertion of executive privilege to protect Attorney General Merrick Garland from any criminal liabilities. However, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jim Jordan, went ahead with its move of contempt against Garland.

Members of the committee voted 18-15 to adopt a report advocating a contempt resolution, which was expected to go further and come up before the House Oversight Committee.

Audio Tapes Controversy

Republicans are very much interested in the audio tapes and believe that these are of pivotal importance in the impeachment inquiry that is currently very much on hold against President Biden.

Their argument has been that the transcripts received back do not reflect the main context or nuances of Biden's testimony. The White House has dismissed the calls, saying that the release of the tapes may result in them being put to partisan misuse.

The special counsel's investigation, lasting over a year, delved into allegations of mishandled classified documents by Biden. While the investigation ended with no charges, the 388-page report released by Hur has sparked considerable political debate.

The report describes instances of Biden's faltering memory, portraying him as an "elderly man with a poor memory," and highlighting moments where he appeared unclear about significant personal and professional dates. This portrayal has fueled Republican critiques of Biden's mental fitness, with House Oversight Chairman James Comer accusing the President of hiding the recordings to prevent further scrutiny of his mental state.

Garland defended the Justice Department's approach in conducting sensitive investigations, reiterating it was cooperating with Congressional requests extensively and in good faith. The tension between the executive branch and congressional Republicans has increased as both sides maneuver through the maze of legal rights, executive privilege, and congressional oversight.