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White House cites executive privilege over tapes of special counsel's Biden interview

The White House exercised executive privilege over the audio recordings of Special Counsel Robert Hur's interview with the president.

"Because of the President's longstanding commitment to protecting the integrity, effectiveness, and independence of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement investigations, he has decided to assert executive privilege over the recordings," Edward Siskel, counsel to the president, wrote in a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. James Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee.

House Republicans had demanded an audio recording of the interview Special Counsel Robert Hur conducted with President Biden. The Justice Department had provided the relevant panels a transcript of the interview. In his report, Hur described Biden as "an elderly man with a poor memory," remarks that angered the White House and its Democratic allies.

In the letter, Siskel noted disclosure of materials like the audio would make it less likely that witnesses in high-profile investigations will voluntarily cooperate. And, he noted: "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. Demanding such sensitive and constitutionally-protected law enforcement materials from the Executive Branch because you want to manipulate them for potential political gain is inappropriate."

Siskel added: "Rather than demonstrating respect for the rule of law, this contempt proceeding is just the latest in the Committees' damaging efforts to undermine the very independence and impartiality of the Department of Justice and criminal justice system that President Biden seeks to

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