Updated Feb 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House Republicans want recordings of Biden's special counsel interview

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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A trio of Republican-led House committees are demanding the Justice Department turn over any transcripts, video or audio from President Biden's interview with special counsel Robert Hur's office.

Why it matters: Details of the 81-year-old president's memory lapses in the interview sparked a firestorm among lawmakers in both parties last week.

Driving the news: House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) made the demand in a letter on Monday.

  • The DOJ has previously rebuffed their requests for information about the special counsel probe on the grounds that it was ongoing, they wrote, adding that it "has now concluded."
  • The committee chairs said the request is part of their impeachment inquiry into Biden.
  • House Republicans are negotiating with Hur to testify to Congress as soon as early March, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The backdrop: The special counsel investigation was opened last January to probe Biden's retention of classified documents from his vice presidency.

  • Hur ultimately decided not to recommend charges for Biden, with the report listing as a factor that Biden would present to a jury as a "sympathetic, well meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," citing his interview.
  • Biden and the White House have pushed back strongly against the report's assertions about Biden's mental acuity.

What they're saying: Comer, Jordan and Smith wrote that they want to determine if any of the documents Biden retained are related to the Biden family business dealing they have been investigating.

  • It is also part of their "oversight of the Department's commitment to impartial justice" and their prosecutions of former President Trump, they said, expressing skepticism of Hur's explanations for not charging Biden.
  • The letter set a Feb. 19 deadline for turning over the requested documents.
  • A DOJ spokesperson confirmed receipt of the letter but declined to comment further.

The other side: House Democrats released a memo on Monday detailing how impeachment inquiry witnesses have pushed back on the notion that Biden was directly involved in his family members' business ventures.

  • "Republicans' allegations have been roundly disproven by the mountain of exculpatory evidence uncovered in their 13 month long 'investigation,'" a spokesperson for House Oversight Committee Democrats told Axios.
  • "Their newest request is more of the same, and in fact follows the Gang of 8 already reviewing every document that was recovered from President Biden ... The Special Counsel was unequivocal in his statement that there was no comparison between Joe Biden's conduct and Donald Trump's."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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