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White House blocks Republican requests for audio of Biden testimony

President Joe Biden took action this Thursday (16) to prevent Republicans in the United States House from obtaining audio recordings of his testimony in an interview with special counsel Robert Hur about the retention of confidential documents.

In a letter to the chairmen of the House of Representatives Judiciary and Oversight committees, the Justice Department said Biden had asserted executive privilege, a legal doctrine that protects certain executive branch records from disclosure.

The letter said Biden also claims executive privilege over Hur's audio recordings with his “ghostwriter,” Mark Zwonitzer.

The House Oversight Committee is prepared to take procedural steps this Thursday to set up a vote to hold Garland liable for contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the audio recordings.

“While our cooperation with Congress has been extraordinary, we also have a responsibility to safeguard the confidentiality of security files whose disclosure could jeopardize future investigations,” wrote Carlos Felipe Uriarte, deputy attorney general.

“The Attorney General must draw a line that protects the department from improper political influence,” he added.

Garland appointed Hur last year to investigate Biden over his retention of confidential records dating back to his time as Barack Obama's vice president.

Hur ultimately declined to pursue criminal charges, noting that Biden had cooperated with the investigation, in contrast to former Republican President Donald Trump, who blocked a similar inquiry, and Trump now faces federal charges for withholding confidential records.

Hur described Biden as an “old, well-meaning man with a poor memory,” setting off a firestorm of criticism from Democrats.

The Justice Department has already turned over a variety of records requested in congressional subpoenas issued by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer in connection with the Hur investigation, including interviews transcribed.

Source: CNN Brasil

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