July 24th, 2024


Stop hiding the Hur tapes

Editorial Board of Las Vegas Review-Journal

By Editorial Board of Las Vegas Review-Journal Las Vegas Review-Journal/(TNS)

Published July 10, 2024

 Stop hiding the Hur tapes

The presidential interview the American public needs to hear isn't with George Stephanopoulos. It's with Robert Hur.

Last Monday, the House Judiciary Committee sued Attorney General Merrick Garland. Republicans want him to release audio of the interview President Joe Biden conducted last October with Hur, the special counsel who investigated the president for mishandling classified documents.

In his report, Hur found that Biden "willfully retained and disclosed classified materials" when he shouldn't have. He declined to bring charges, however, based in part on Biden's mental fitness.

"At a trial, Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," Hur's report read.

The report included specific examples from Biden's interview with investigators. Hur noted the president didn't remember when his term as vice president ended or when "within several years" that "his son Beau died."

For his observations, Hur received withering criticism.

"How in the hell dare he raise that," Biden said, referencing his son's death. "Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn't any of their damn business." The president also told reporters, "My memory's fine."

Vice President Kamala Harris called Hur's comments "gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate," adding, "The way that the president's demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts, and clearly politically motivated."

If any of this were true, the White House would have rushed to make audio of the interview public. Instead, Garland cited executive privilege and stonewalled efforts by House Republicans to hear the evidence for themselves. Biden's defenders also claimed that releasing the audio could lead to the president's political opponents creating "deep fake" videos to harm his campaign.

The issue had receded into the background of the campaign. And then came the president's debate debacle, in which his infirmities were on full display. It's now abundantly clear why the Justice Department and the Biden White House have no interest in allowing the public to hear the Hur interview.

House Republicans aren't giving up. Last month, they voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress. Now, they've gone to the courts.

"President Biden's self-serving attempt to shield the audio recording of his interview with the special counsel while publicly releasing a transcript of that same interview represents an astonishing effort to expand the scope of executive privilege," the lawsuit said.

Hiding politically damaging information isn't a valid reason to exert executive privilege. Biden had previously acknowledged that the interview wasn't privileged and his conversations with Hur had little to do with his duties as president. The claim is bogus, and the courts should rule as such.

As American voters grapple with the obvious reality that Biden would have great difficulty performing his duties for another four years, they deserve honesty and transparency from the White House.

The deceptions must stop. Release the tapes.


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