Merrick Garland ‘Running Interference’ On Biden Audiotapes To Protect White House, Jonathan Turley Says
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appears before a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 16, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland is withholding audio of President Joe Biden’s special counsel interview to protect the White House from a potentially embarrassing story, according to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

Turley appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Friday and told guest host Kayleigh McEnany that House Republicans are right to pursue Garland on his refusal to hand over the audiotapes. The House voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress last week in a largely party-line vote.

Garland “has a record now of running interference on potential cases or investigations that might embarrass the White House. This latest fight with Congress is particularly telling. The position of Merrick Garland withholding these audiotapes is not just unsupportable, it’s incomprehensible as a matter of constitutional law,” Turley said.

“It’s absurd, and he’s going to go into a federal court and make an argument that I think most trial lawyers would blush in front of a judge,” he continued. “He’s arguing that we didn’t view the transcript as privileged but we do believe the audiotape of the same transcript to be privileged, as if this is the president who shall not be heard. No court has ever extended the privilege like that.”

The department’s argument that releasing the audiotape will lead to a proliferation of AI deepfakes of Biden’s special counsel interview is nonsensical and counterproductive, according to Turley.

“They made it even more absurd by saying that they have a type of deep fake privilege, that if we release the tape, AI will start to make fake audiotapes of the president’s voice. Well, here’s a flash for you Gordon, they already have the president’s voice and you’ve already given the transcript. A high school student could re-create a fake tape like that. If anything you make it more likely that would be accepted as true because you won’t release the actual audiotape,” he said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement Friday that the House would pursue the subpoena for the audiotapes in court. Turley applauded the step.

“I commend Speaker Johnson in saying we’ll go to court. I represented the House of Representatives in prior litigation and it actually has a very good record, including in our case of prevailing in the federal courts to fight for Article 1 powers — and this is it. This is the hill that you need to fight on,” Turley said.

The Justice Department issued a letter to the House on Friday two days after the contempt vote declining to prosecute Garland. Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte, who wrote the letter, cited the “longstanding position and uniform practice” of the DOJ to decline to prosecute officials denying subpoenas because of a president’s claim of executive privilege.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Merrick Garland ‘Running Interference’ On Biden Audiotapes To Protect White House, Jonathan Turley Says