GOP impeachment investigators want special counsel’s Biden records
House Republican investigators leading the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden are pressing for more details on his interview with Robert Hur as part of the special counsel’s classified documents investigation.
Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Ways & Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday, asking for any records, including recordings, related to Biden’s interview with Hur’s team. They also want classified documents identified in the report related to Ukraine.
In addition to the documents request, House Republicans are in talks with Hur to have him testify about his report, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
House Republicans are giving the Justice Department until 5 p.m. on Feb. 19 to hand over the requested materials. Otherwise, they warned, GOP lawmakers are “prepared to compel the production of this material if necessary” via a subpoena. They are also requesting any communication between the Justice Department, Biden’s personal counsel and the White House about the special counsel report.
“For our investigatory purposes, the Committees require certain records relating to Mr. Hur’s investigation and report,” the three GOP lawmakers wrote to Garland.
They added that they “require this transcript and any other records of this interview, including, but not limited to, any recordings, notes, or summaries of the interview.”
The Justice Department released Hur’s report last week, which found that criminal charges against Biden wouldn’t be warranted even if DOJ lacked an internal policy against prosecuting sitting presidents. Hur’s investigation found evidence that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency,” the report states, but it didn’t “establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Congressional Republicans have also emphasized the report’s descriptions of Biden, including that he would be perceived in any court proceedings as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” Comer called last week for the Justice Department to provide access to classified documents referenced in the report, as well as release the transcript with Biden. But Monday’s letter is the first formal request for information since the report’s release.
Biden has denied that he improperly shared classified information. Hur’s report alleges that he shared it with a ghostwriter. The president and other Democrats have also publicly criticized Hur’s descriptions of Biden’s memory.
Richard Sauber, a special counsel to the president, and Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal counsel, sent a joint letter to Hur last week asking that he revise his descriptions of Biden’s memory “so that they are stated in a manner that is within the bounds of your expertise and remit.”
In addition to the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden — which has largely focused on the business deals of his family members, but also delved into his handling of classified documents and the years-long federal investigation into Hunter Biden — Republicans said in their letter on Monday that they also needed the information for a separate investigation into the federal investigation of former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.
Republicans have tried to draw an apples-to-apples comparison of Biden’s and Trump’s mishandling of classified documents, arguing that the Justice Department’s decision not to charge Biden but to pursue charges against Trump is an example of a politicized justice system.
But Hur’s report draws a contrast between the two cases, noting that Trump allegedly refused to return classified documents for months while Biden turned in the classified documents and cooperated with the investigation.
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