Headline RoundupApril 8th, 2024

Justice Department Rebukes House Committees, Urges Lawmakers to 'Avoid Conflict'

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Department of Justice declined to hand over the audio recording of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Biden to the House Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee.

For Context: In February, Hur released his report on Biden’s handling of classified documents. Hur’s report noted Biden’s memory lapses, at one point describing Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” The two Republican-led committees are seeking the recording of this interview in connection with their probes into the Biden family's business dealings overseas.

Key Quotes: In a letter from the Justice Department sent to the committees, Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte stated that the committees “received the information you requested. That information may not have substantiated the concerns the Committees articulated, but it does appear to help resolve them and your inquiry.” Uriarte goes on to express concern regarding Republican committee members' threats to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt should the audio not be handed over, stating, “We are therefore concerned that the Committees are disappointed not because you didn’t receive information, but because you did. We urge the Committees to avoid conflict rather than seek it.”

How the Media Covered It: Left- and center-rated outlets framed coverage around the Justice Department’s statements criticizing the Republican committee members, while right-rated outlets focused more on the department's refusal to hand over the audio. The Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) stated that the audio “could shed additional light on Biden’s mental acuity.”

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