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Biden Refuses to Release Hur Interview Audio

State of the Union: Biden’s insistence to keep his interview tapes hidden raises suspicion among Republicans.
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Credit: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum

On Thursday, the House Judiciary committee and House Oversight and Accountability committee voted to advance charges against Attorney General Merrick Garland for his refusal to turn over audio from President Joe Biden’s interview with the special counsel Robert Hur.

In October 2023, Hur sat down with President Biden to conduct a two-day interview about the president’s mishandling of classified documents. Hur concluded that, although Biden had indeed mishandled classified information, he ought not be charged in a court of law due to lack of proof to meet federal prosecution thresholds.

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Although the transcript of Hur’s interview has been published along with a lengthy report, President Biden asserted executive privilege to block the committees from obtaining audio recordings of the interviews.

The White House counsel’s office notified House GOP investigators of this move only a few hours before Republicans were expected to recommend holding Garland in contempt of Congress for not handing over the audio. 

White House Counsel Ed Siskel defended Biden’s actions, writing in a letter to Republican House leaders: “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 continued, “Demanding such sensitive and constitutionally-protected law enforcement materials from the Executive Branch because you want to manipulate them for potential political gain is inappropriate.”

Garland himself told reporters at the Justice Department, “We have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the committees get responses to their legitimate requests, but this is not one. To the contrary, this is one that would harm our ability in the future to successfully pursue sensitive investigations.”

Republicans like Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida contend that the tapes are necessary to proceed with their investigation.

Although he has insisted that Hur’s report mischaracterized his mental acuity, Biden’s secrecy surrounding the release of the raw audio throws his use of executive privilege into suspicion.