Breaking: Biden Invokes Executive Privilege in ‘Hail Mary’ to Block Release of Special Counsel Recordings

President Joe Biden is asserting executive privilege to block House Republicans from receiving the audio from his two-day interview with special counsel Robert Hur, which was part of the investigation into Biden's mishandling of classified documents and raised questions about the 81-year-old's mental faculties.

White House counsel Edward Siskel wrote a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman 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.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland requested that Biden assert executive privilege over the audio. On Thursday, Republicans are slated to have markup hearings on holding Garland in contempt for the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over the audio in accordance with congressional subpoenas.

“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.

House Republicans subpoenaed the Justice Department for all the materials from Hur’s report shortly after it was released. Although Hur did not recommend 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 late son Beau Biden died. The president held a press conference upon the release of Hur’s report seeking to counter concerns about his age. During the press conference, a seemingly angry Biden confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.

The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project and several news organizations are fighting the Justice Department in court over the Hur interview audio.

In a statement to National Review, Comer called Biden's assertion of executive privilege a "Hail Mary." The committee needs to recordings as part of its investigation of Biden's mishandling of classified documents, he said.

"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."

In March, Hur testified before the Judiciary Committee and defended the necessity of his observations about Biden’s age. Ahead of his testimony, transcripts of his Biden interview were released that appeared to corroborate the report's findings on Biden’s memory issues.

Before the report was released, the White House pressured Hur to soften his language on Biden’s age, Hur said. The White House has also attempted to influence media coverage of Hur’s report.

Weeks after Hur testified, Garland shot down his liberal critics who argued that he should have intervened and edited Hur’s report. Democrats attempted to portray Hur as a partisan prosecutor throughout his testimony, a characterization Hur strongly rejected.

Biden’s age is a major issue in his reelection campaign against former president Donald Trump. The audio tapes could bring further scrutiny if they show him appearing to struggle over the course of Hur’s interview.

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Biden Invokes Executive Privilege in ‘Hail Mary’ to Block Release of Special Counsel Recordings

‘It's a five-alarm fire at the White House,’ House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said of ... READ MORE


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