Republicans Sue Merrick Garland For Audio Of Joe Biden's Interview With Robert Hur

WASHINGTON ― House Republicans on Monday took U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to court over his refusal to hand over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur.

The interview led Hur to describe Biden in a February report as “an elderly man with a poor memory.”

Concerns about Biden’s mental sharpness have only intensified since his faltering debate performance on Thursday, and Republicans want the Hur audio to further highlight the president’s age.

“He will very likely sound exactly on that tape as he did on the stage last night, and that’s embarrassing to the president,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters on Friday. “We’re sorry about that. We’re not trying to embarrass the president. We’re trying to get down to the facts.”

The Justice Department gave Republicans a transcript of the interview but withheld the audio, saying it would hurt future investigations if people thought cooperating with law enforcement would result in sensitive conversations becoming public record.

The transcript showed Biden seemingly struggling to recall if his son Beau Biden had still been alive at the time he was considering his run for president in 2017 and 2018. Aides chimed in to say Beau died in 2015.

“Was it 2015 he had died?” Biden asked, according to the transcript.

Republicans first demanded the recording as part of their impeachment inquiry against Biden, which has focused on unfounded allegations that Biden profited from business deals involving his surviving son, Hunter Biden.

Republicans have questioned Hur’s decision not to prosecute Biden for mishandling classified information from his days as vice president because former President Donald Trump has been indicted for retaining classified material after he left the White House. (Trump refused to cooperate with the DOJ and also faces obstruction of justice charges.) Hur said that the fact that Biden would come off to a jury as a well-meaning old man was a factor in his decision.

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), asked a federal court on Monday to force the Biden administration to comply with the committee’s subpoena for the digital audio files.

“The audio recordings, not the cold transcripts, are the best available evidence of how President Biden presented himself during the interview,” the complaint says.

Court battles over congressional subpoenas can be lengthy, and the case could drag on beyond the term of the current Congress, which expires at the end of the year.

Jonathan Nicholson contributed reporting.