House Republicans Sue Garland For Tapes Of Hur Interview With Biden

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 02, 2024 - 01:40 AM

Authored by Jackson Richman via The Epoch Times,

House Republicans filed a lawsuit on July 1 against Attorney General Merrick Garland, seeking to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release the audiotapes of special counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden in his classified documents probe.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also asks the court to require the DOJ to hand over the audio of Mr. Hur’s interview with President Biden’s ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, who wrote two memoirs for him.

The legal action came after the House Republicans last month voted to hold Mr. Garland in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena for tapes of Mr. Hur’s interview with the president. The White House has asserted executive privilege.

The Justice Department declined to prosecute the attorney general, citing the department’s “longstanding position” not to pursue criminal action against those who refuse to comply with subpoenas over which executive privilege has been claimed.

House Republicans sought material relating to Mr. Hur’s investigation into the president’s handling of classified material after the special counsel declined to recommend charges against President Biden.

Mr. Hur’s report, in reaching its conclusion not to go forward with charges, cited an assessment that President Biden would present to a jury as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

The Justice Department has handed over transcripts and notes on the interview and argues that it is not necessary to provide the tapes. Doing so would deter future presidents from cooperating with similar investigations, the DOJ said.

House Republicans have insisted that they need the tapes to verify the transcript’s accuracy and to confirm that Mr. Hur’s observation was justified.

The Justice Department and Democrats pushed back, contending that Republicans wanted the tapes solely for partisan reasons.

“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,” Ed Siskel, President Biden’s counsel, wrote to House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in a May letter.

In its 56-page suit, the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee contends that the Biden administration’s executive privilege claim is “frivolous.” The committee also argues that the president had waived privilege when it released a transcript of the interview to Congress.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Justice Department for Mr. Garland’s response to the lawsuit.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) this past week said that she would force a vote on an obscure measure, known as an inherent contempt resolution, which would direct the House sergeant at arms to arrest Mr. Garland for failing to comply with the subpoena.

The resolution is privileged, so the House will be forced to vote on it within two legislative days once she brings it to the floor. Ms. Luna had said she would bring it to the floor on June 28 but did not.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Ms. Luna’s office to ask when she will put it on the floor and why she did not do so on June 28.

According to Mr. Hur’s report, classified materials from 2009 about the war in Afghanistan were found at a Virginia home that President Biden rented and where he met with Mr. Zwonitzer to work on the two books.

The classified documents were eventually sent to Delaware.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Mr. Zwonitzer’s attorney, Louis Freeman, for comment.