Biden's AG won't release special counsel interview audio in Biden's classified docs case, claims it would 'chill cooperation' with DOJ

"In response, certain members of this committee and the Oversight Committee are seeking contempt as a means of obtaining, for no legitimate purpose, sensitive law enforcement information that could harm the integrity of future investigations."

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning in a hearing centered around the oversight of the Department of Justice and the department withholding audio recordings of President Joe Biden's interviews with Special Counsel Robert Hur from the public. This comes after the Judiciary and House Oversight Committees voted to hold him in contempt

Garland during his opening statements said that he would not provide audio of special counsel Hur’s interview with Biden in the classified documents case because it would "chill cooperation with the department in future investigations."  

Garland said his department went to "extraordinary lengths to ensure that the committee gets responses to its legitimate requests for information," noting that Hur’s report was provided as well as transcripts of the interview, and Hur testified before Congress for "more than five hours."  

"But we have made clear that we will not provide audio recordings from which the transcripts that you already have were created," Garland said. "Releasing the audio would chill cooperation with the department in future investigations and it could influence witnesses’ answers if they thought the audio of their law enforcement interviews would be broadcast to Congress and the public."  

"In response, certain members of this committee and the Oversight Committee are seeking contempt as a means of obtaining, for no legitimate purpose, sensitive law enforcement information that could harm the integrity of future investigations."  

Garland said that the effort to hold him in contempt "is only the most recent in a long line of attacks on the Justice Department’s work. It comes alongside threats to the" particular DOJ investigations, "most recently the special counsel’s prosecution of the former president."  

Other "attacks" listed by Garland include "baseless and extremely dangerous falsehoods are being spread about the FBI’s law enforcement operations," "heinous threats of violence being directed at the Justice Department's career civil servants," and "false claims that a jury verdict in a state trial by a brought by a local District Attorney was somehow controlled by the Justice Department," saying that this "conspiracy theory is an attack on the judicial process itself."  

"These repeated attacks on the Justice Department are unprecedented, and they are unfounded. These attacks have not and they will not influence our decision making. I view contempt as a serious matter, but I will not jeopardize the ability of our prosecutors and agents to do their jobs effectively."  

Garland said he and the Department of Justice "will not be intimidated" and will "continue to work do our jobs free from political influence, and we will not back down from defending democracy." 

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