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Biden asserts executive privilege over Hur audio files ahead of House contempt proceedings against Garland




CNN

President Joe Biden has asserted executive privilege over recordings of his interview with special counsel Robert Hoare, according to letters from the White House and Justice Department to House Republicans.

Republican lawmakers had previously subpoenaed audio recordings of Biden’s interviews, along with his ghostwriter Mark Zunitzer and other elements of Hoar’s investigation into Biden’s handling of classified information. The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are scheduled to begin the process of holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with those subpoenas on Thursday.

“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,” White House counsel Edward Siskel wrote to House Oversight Chairman James. Incoming House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan.

The White House noted that the Justice Department had already provided transcripts of interviews conducted by the special counsel with Biden and his ghostwriter, and had complied with other aspects of the initial subpoena from Republicans.

Siskel accused Republicans of wanting to distort audio recordings and criticized them for going after prosecutors they disagree with.

“The absence of a legitimate need for the audio recordings exposes your potential goal — to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes,” Siskel wrote.

In light of the White House’s assertion of executive privilege, the Justice Department called on House Republicans to rescind the contempt proceedings.

“Given the information you now have, the committees should not act in contempt, but should instead avoid unnecessary and unwarranted conflict,” wrote Carlos Uriarte, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legislative Affairs.

Uriarte also defended the need to protect the audiotapes: “We have repeatedly made clear that disclosure of subpoenaed audio recordings would harm future law enforcement efforts and that the commissions’ continued demands raise serious concerns about the separation of powers.”

A transcript of the two-day interview between Hoare’s team and Biden was released in March before Hoare’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Hoare did not recommend charges against Biden in his report, and said the president appeared in the interview as a “sympathetic, well-meaning old man with a poor memory.”

in April, She sued CNN for access For Biden interview recordings.

Through the subpoenas they filed with the Justice Department, House Republicans have argued that the audio recordings are essential to the Biden impeachment inquiry, which remains stalled as the prospects for the impeachment inquiry to conclude have become increasingly unlikely. Without their narrow majority vote or evidence of an impeachable offense, Republicans are now struggling with how to end their investigation and are looking for ways to target other members of the Biden administration.

In their contempt reports, Republicans stated that the Justice Department could not identify information useful to their investigations, and argued that verbal nuances in the audio recording provide unique insight into a topic not reflected in the transcript.

“The Constitution does not allow the executive branch to dictate to Congress how to proceed with or conduct oversight of an impeachment investigation,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, Republicans claim in their report that while interview transcripts reflect what was said, they “do not reflect important verbal context, such as tone or tenor, or nonverbal context, such as pauses or pace of delivery.”

Republicans claim that such pauses and changes “could provide indications of a witness’s ability to recall events, or whether an individual is deliberately giving evasive or unresponsive testimony to investigators.”

Republicans pointed to a recent example when the transcript and audio recording of the president diverged, noting that in a speech last month, Biden read the teleprompter’s signal aloud during his speech, which was reflected in a recording of the event but not in the recording. The initial text of his statements.

The House Oversight Committee pushed back Thursday’s start date so Republican committee members can attend the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City, two sources familiar with the planning told CNN.

When asked to comment on the reason for the schedule change, a spokeswoman for the Oversight Committee told CNN: “Due to member schedule conflicts, coding now begins at a different time to accommodate members’ schedules.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.



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