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Former attorney general pulls rug from under DOJ’s defense for keeping Biden tapes hidden

President Joe Biden, on the advice of Attorney General Merrick Garland, asserted executive privilege last month to keep private audio recordings of questionable meetings with special counsel Robert Hart.

In defending the secrecy, Mr. Biden’s lawyers and Mr. Garland cited a 2008 opinion by former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasy.

Unfortunately for Biden’s exercise of executive privilege, Mukasey released an affidavit late Friday night in the Heritage Foundation Oversight Project’s lawsuit against the Biden Department of Justice revealing that Garland and his deputy misapplied Bush-era arguments and were wrong about keeping the tapes from the American public.

explained declaration Mike Howell, executive director of the Surveillance Project, said: I have written On Saturday morning, “Boom[.] Merrick Garland’s ‘House of Cards’ falls apart.”

background

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Robert Hur as special counsel in President Joe Biden’s classified documents case.
Give him a task The investigation will look into the “potential unauthorized removal or storage of classified documents or other records” discovered in January 2023 at Biden’s Delaware mansion and Washington, D.C. think tank.

Hoare concluded his investigation in February and recommended that no charges be brought against Biden.
388-page report He said his investigation “uncovered evidence that President Biden knowingly retained and disclosed classified materials while he was a private citizen after leaving office as vice president.”

That realization was enough to grab headlines, but the report’s suggestion that Biden was too decrepit was even more alarming.

The Har report noted Biden’s “limited accuracy and memory during ghostwriters and interviews with authorities” and suggested potential jurors might be reluctant to convict Biden of “serious felony offenses requiring a recalcitrant mental state.”

The report further noted that the Democratic president appeared to have a mental condition deteriorated enough that he could consciously carry out the crime, and presented himself as “a caring and well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory” in an interview with Heo’s team in October 2023.

Another part of the report said, “Biden’s memory appears to be significantly limited both when he spoke with the President and when he did not.” [his ghostwriter] In 2017, evidence was given through recorded conversations, and today, evidence is given through recorded interviews with our office.”

While Biden’s 2017 interview was reportedly “horribly slow” and delayed by his inability to recall events or even read his notes’ accounts, his interview with the special counsel’s office was far worse.

“He did not remember when he was vice president” and “did not remember when his son Beau died,” the report said.

tape

On February 12, several House Republican committee chairs who learned of the recordings sent requests to Attorney General Merrick Garland to turn over the interview tapes of Biden and Harr and other materials. Garland did not respond, so the committee chairs
respond Subpoenas were issued, but Marland failed to comply, and the council eventually voted to hold him in contempt.

Garland before the vote
Said “We will assert executive privilege over the subpoenaed recordings,” Biden wrote in his May 15 letter, emphasizing that such a claim could be overturned only if congressional investigators demonstrate they have a “sufficient need for the subpoenaed materials.”

Sure enough, the White House followed Garland’s advice and kept the tapes hidden.

In a May 16 letter, presidential counsel Edward Siskel told House Republicans: “The Attorney General has warned that releasing materials such as these audio recordings could harm future law enforcement investigations by making witnesses in high-profile investigations less likely to cooperate voluntarily. Indeed, even former presidents and attorneys general from your party have recognized the need to protect these law enforcement materials from disclosure.”

Just as Garland defended Biden’s executive privilege claim, Siskel also cited a 2008 lawsuit issued by former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey entitled “
Assertion of executive privilege in special counsel interviews with the vice president and senior White House staff

In a May 31 court filing, Assistant Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer said:
Additional Emphasis As for how Garland used this opinion.

“The executive privilege asserted here far exceeds the limits of any previous assertion.”

In his opinion, Mukasy urged President George Bush to invoke executive privilege regarding Justice Department documents subpoenaed by congressional committees, noting that “the production of such documents would bar future White House officials from producing documents and would preclude any future criminal investigations by the Department of Justice of official White House conduct.”

It would have been unwise to place too much reliance on this opinion.

Surveillance Project files lawsuit

The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a lawsuit in March to compel the release of the recordings of Biden and Har and other related materials.

Mike Howell
Said “We are litigating not only why Special Counsel Hoar went easy on President Biden, but also the records he relied on to determine that President Biden is too elderly and demented to be held accountable for his gross mishandling of our nation’s most sensitive secrets,” he said in an opening statement.

“The American people have a right to know how the special counsel reached his conclusion, which is why we are calling for the special counsel to obtain those records and restore transparency in our government,” Howell added.

One reason the Surveillance Project wants to hear the tapes is because the White House
Hospitalized “The president has been a great leader in the country for many years, and he has been a great supporter of the White House,” said Biden. “He has been a great leader in the country, and he has been a great supporter of the White House.”

The surveillance project’s public records lawsuit was finalized last month.
Judicial Watch And CNN. Other organizations have followed suit.

Mukasey pulls the rug out from under Biden and Garland

In a sworn affidavit dated June 18 and filed Friday night, Mukasey said Garland had placed “undue reliance” on a 2008 analysis of the law enforcement elements of executive privilege.

“The State Department has lost sight of the true institutional interests of the presidency and is endangering the important traditions and principles upon which the doctrine of executive privilege is based.”

While Mukasey upheld the president’s constitutional responsibility to assert executive privilege “when necessary to protect classified information in the possession of the executive branch,” he noted that “the assertion of executive privilege here goes far beyond the limits of previous assertions and is not supported by the 2008 executive privilege letter or other precedent relied upon by the Department.”

Mukasey suggested there could be substantial repercussions for the Biden Justice Department and White House using executive privilege to hide the tapes.

The reasons for asserting privilege are entirely unconvincing, and in pressing ahead with this flawed assertion of privilege, I believe the Department has lost sight of the true institutional interests of the Presidency, endangered important traditions and principles on which the doctrine of executive power is based, and jeopardized the ability of current and future Presidents to assert those principles when necessary and appropriate.

Mukasey noted a variety of glaring differences between Biden’s case and the 2008 situation.

First, he noted that the 2008 FBI report and interview memos in question contained “open and frank discussions between senior advisers to the president” about White House operations, including sensitive decisions on Bass’s part and interactions with the president.

Meanwhile, Biden’s interview with Hur “did not address the sensitive remarks of the presidential adviser, nor did it touch on the official duties of white people, but only on their private conduct.”

Mukasy denied that the release of the Biden-Har documents would prevent “the Department of Defense from willingly cooperating in any future criminal investigations involving official White House conduct,” as it did in 2008, and noted that while the Bush-era documents of interest are all still classified, the purported transcripts of Biden’s interviews have already been made public.

“The public has an overwhelming interest in hearing the audio recording, and I believe that the interest in its release outweighs any possible infringement of the President’s privacy interests,” Mukasey added.

Mukasey echoed some lawmakers’ suggestions, noting that audio recordings provide additional information “about a witness’ demeanor, credibility, intellectual acuity, and other characteristics that cannot be obtained from cold hard records.” This information was clearly a factor in Heo’s ultimate decision not to recommend indictments.

“This is why we have the Freedom of Information Act in the first place.”

According to the former attorney general, the efforts to hide the tapes strongly suggest that the Biden administration believes their release “would be embarrassing and politically damaging to the president,” hardly a justification for asserting executive privilege or ignoring a freedom of information request.

After briefly addressing Garland’s suggestion that releasing the Biden recordings would be tantamount to releasing the recordings of the dying Challenger astronauts, Mukasey denied the Attorney General’s suggestion that the recordings of Biden’s interview with Har could be manipulated if released, noting that there is enough audio of Biden to create a “deep fake.”

“[Garland’s] Tonight, the case fell apart. “Project Surveillance stress Online. “No one is above the law.”

“Despite all the government’s voluminous reports, fanciful arguments, and attempts to create new legal powers, this remains a simple case,” the Oversight Project report states. “This is why the Freedom of Information Act exists in the first place.”

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