Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 30, 2024

House Speaker Confirms Legal Strategy to Obtain DOJ Biden Audio

The House Judiciary Committee intends to sue the Department of Justice to obtain audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced the legal move against the DOJ, emphasizing the necessity of verifying the transcript's accuracy and assessing the president's cognitive state, as the Washington Times reports.

The suit aims to obtain the audio from President Biden’s interview in connection with an investigation led by special counsel Robert Hur. “We will go to district court here in D.C. which is the appropriate venue and we will fight vigorously to get it,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday.

House's Determined Legal Move

The investigation by Hur focused on the potential mishandling of classified documents by President Biden. Although Hur’s final report concluded that Biden did indeed mishandle classified documents, it did not recommend criminal charges, citing potential jury reluctance to convict someone with Biden's cognitive concerns and memory issues.

Despite the transcript of President Biden's interview having been released, Johnson stressed that the actual audio is required to confirm the transcript's accuracy. “We need it. We’ve talked about it here with this group before, is that we’ve got to have the audiotape to confirm what is on the written transcript,” he asserted.

Attorney General Merrick Garland cited executive privilege when he refused to comply with the subpoena for the audio requested by the GOP. This refusal has led to heightened tensions between the legislative and executive branches. Earlier this month, the House voted to hold Garland in contempt for not turning over the audio, although the Justice Department later declined to prosecute Garland over the contempt charge.

Push for Verification

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna sent a letter on Monday outlining her plan to press for a vote on an inherent contempt resolution against Attorney General Garland. This resolution is another step in the GOP's effort to obtain the audio, which they see as vital for the investigative process. Johnson mentioned having discussions with Luna regarding her plans but noted that no definitive decisions had been made yet.

The planned lawsuit will draw attention to the clash over executive power and the constitutional obligations of the legislative branch. “We’re going to be as aggressive as we can and use every tool in our arsenal to make sure that it happens because we have an obligation on the Constitution to do it,” Johnson declared.

Focusing on Executive Privileges

The refusal by Garland to provide the requested audio, citing executive privileges, underscores the significant legal and political ramifications of such a standoff. The House Judiciary Committee's planned legal action aims to test the limits of these claimed privileges. Johnson’s announcement signals a determined stance by the GOP to pursue this matter vigorously through the judicial system.

As the Judiciary Committee prepares to bring this issue to district court in Washington, D.C., the broader implications for executive-legislative relations are substantial. This legal action may set a precedent for how similar cases are handled in the future. Both sides appear to be preparing for an extensive legal fight that will center on constitutional interpretations and executive authority.

In summary, Johnson's announcement reflects a critical juncture in the ongoing investigation and the legislative branch's commitment to ensure accountability. The push for the audio recording stems from a desire to verify the transcript and hold parties involved to the highest standards of transparency and accuracy.

House Speaker Mike Johnson's plan to file a lawsuit underscores the GOP's position on ensuring thorough oversight and accountability within the government's highest levels. The House Judiciary Committee is set to take significant legal steps to obtain the audio recording of President Biden's interview, asserting the need to confirm the accuracy of existing transcripts.

The ongoing dispute with Attorney General Merrick Garland over executive privileges adds a layer of complexity to the situation.  Johnson's comments signal a determined effort to use every available measure to achieve the legislative branch's constitutional obligations.

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About Ashton Snyder

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