Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 16, 2024

Biden Uses Executive Privilege Over Classified Document Recordings

The White House has asserted executive privilege over audio and video recordings related to Special Counsel Robert Hur's interviews with President Joe Biden.

Fox News reported that this move aims to protect sensitive information, sparking controversy and accusations of bias. The assertion of executive privilege has caused significant debate about the justice system's fairness.

Associate Attorney General Carlos Uriarte communicated the White House's decision in a letter to Representatives Jim Jordan and James Comer. The letter indicated that executive privilege extends to audio recordings and any other materials related to the subpoenas.

Hur's Investigation and Findings

Special Counsel Robert Hur investigated President Biden's handling of classified documents as vice president. In February, Hur announced he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden.

Hur described Biden as a "sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory." He suggested that a jury would likely find reasonable doubt in convicting Biden of a serious felony due to his age and mental state.

This assessment has led to outrage, with critics arguing that Biden's cognitive state disqualifies him from facing charges but not from serving as president.

Criticism from Former President Trump

Former President Donald Trump criticized the decision, calling it evidence of a "sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice." He pointed out the disparity in how charges are applied.

President Biden's interview with Hur lasted about five hours last year. Executive privilege also covers Biden's interviews with his ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer. Attorney General Merrick Garland requested that Biden block the release of the recordings, citing risks to other high-profile investigations.

DOJ and House Republicans Clash

The Department of Justice (DOJ) argued that releasing the recordings could undermine its ability to conduct similar investigations, particularly those requiring the voluntary cooperation of White House officials.

White House Counsel Ed Siskel accused House Republicans of intending to "chop up, distort, and use" the recordings for political purposes. He stated that demanding such materials from the Executive Branch for potential political gain is inappropriate.

The Heritage Foundation, Judicial Watch, and CNN have filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the recordings. House Republicans also subpoenaed the recordings but were unsuccessful.

Executive Privilege and Legal Protections

The DOJ has refused to comply with a House Republican subpoena regarding the Biden family investigation, citing executive privilege that protects Attorney General Garland from prosecution and asserting that the requested documents are protected to maintain a sensitive information balance.

In summary, the White House's assertion of executive privilege over recordings from Special Counsel Robert Hur's interviews with President Biden has led to significant debate. The decision has been defended as necessary to protect sensitive information but criticized for potentially indicating bias in the justice system. The DOJ and House Republicans continue to clash over the release of these recordings, with broader implications for future high-profile investigations.

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