Garland Defends Withholding Biden Tapes, Cites Risk to Investigations

Attorney General Merrick Garland stuck to his decision on Tuesday not to release the tapes of President Biden’s interview with a special counsel. The counsel had described Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” and Garland said that making the tapes public could harm other investigations.

Garland told lawmakers that he hadn’t listened to the recordings but trusted the transcript of the prosecutor’s interview with Biden. He said that the transcript, which has been released, should be enough for Congress and the public.

The attorney general explained that releasing the tapes could prevent cooperation from targets and witnesses in future investigations, as they might fear their audio would be made public. He also argued that Congress doesn’t have a “legislative purpose” in demanding the tapes themselves.

The tapes and transcripts in question are from Special Counsel Robert K. Hur’s investigation into whether Biden committed crimes by mishandling classified documents. Hur concluded that Biden would be difficult to prosecute because of how he would appear to a jury.

The House has subpoenaed the tapes, and Garland has refused to comply, leading to contempt-of-Congress proceedings against him. Republicans have argued that court precedents support the release of the tapes, but Garland said the situation isn’t comparable to past cases, such as the one involving President Nixon.

During the hearing, Garland also faced intense scrutiny over his decisions regarding Biden and former President Trump. He defended his choice of special counsel to pursue Trump, emphasized the standard use of force policy in a search warrant for Trump’s documents, and rebuffed demands to release communications related to the prosecutions of Trump.

Garland’s refusal to release the tapes and other information was criticized by Republican lawmakers, who accused him of advancing dangerous conspiracy theories. The attorney general urged lawmakers to follow a referral process for such requests.

Overall, Garland remained firm in his position on not releasing the tapes, emphasizing the potential harm to future investigations and the lack of legislative purpose in Congress’s demand for the tapes

Written by Staff Reports

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