Experts weigh in on Biden using executive privilege to block release of special council interview

President Joe Biden’s use of executive privilege to block the release of audio recordings of his interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur is being described as a move rooted purely in politics.

On Thursday, the White House said that the octogenarian Democrat would be refusing the requests from congressional Republicans for the recordings of his sit-down with Hur which have become a major embarrassment for a man who was described as an “elderly man with a poor memory” by the prosecutor, a description that infuriated Biden and his allies.

The decision was attributed to Biden’s hand-picked Attorney General Merrick Garland who, according to White House spox Karine Jean-Pierre, suggested that “law enforcement files like these need to be protected.”

“And so the president made his determination at the request of the attorney general,” Jean-Pierre said at Thursday’s daily press briefing, referring additional questions to the White House counsel’s office.

The claim of executive privilege drew a strong response from legal experts who said the move was “extremely problematic” and “strictly a political decision.”

“Executive privilege is designed to respect constitutional separation of powers and to enable a president to engage in candid conversations with his top advisers in order to form judgments and reach decisions,” said former federal prosecutor John Malcolm of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Executive Privilege “is not designed to hide information that may prove to be embarrassing to a president or some other government official or operation,” Malcolm told Fox News Digital, noting that the interview transcript has already been released.

“Hence, there is no national security or deliberative process reason for not disclosing the recordings of the interview,” he added. “The only conceivable reason why President Biden would want to prevent the recordings from being disclosed is because he is worried about how the public will react to his demeanor and recall when answering Special Counsel Hur’s questions, especially since serious questions have already been raised about his mental acuity and his ability to serve effectively as our president.”

“If he has some other, legitimate reason for withholding that information — and it is hard to fathom what that might be — he needs to say what it is,” Malcolm said.

“It certainly looks like the Biden administration is trotting out Attorney General Garland to be the public face of this weak executive privilege claim, so that neither President Biden nor his senior White House staff have to be, and so that the White House press secretary can avoid answering questions about it and simply refer them to the Justice Department,” said John Shu, who served as an official in both Bush administrations.

Executive privilege “is not supposed to encompass a recording of a president’s voluntary, represented interview, especially where he waived privilege and released the transcript, which removes any national security issues,” Shu told Fox News Digital.

“It’s not unreasonable for Congress to ask for these recordings because transcripts aren’t always accurate, and this White House previously has edited official transcripts when the President mistakenly read aloud his teleprompter cues,” he added. “Transcripts also generally don’t reflect verbal intonations or emotive expressions such as anger, sarcasm, or humor.”

“Clearly President Biden and his advisors fear releasing the audio recordings of his interview because it will again reaffirm to the American people that President Biden’s mental state is in decline. The House Oversight Committee requires these recordings as part of our investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told Fox News Digital.

Chris Donaldson

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