Former AG Michael Mukasey Blasts Merrick Garland For Hiding Biden Audio Tape

 June 24, 2024

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has openly criticized Merrick Garland for not releasing audio recordings of President Biden's interview with special counsel Robert Hur to Congress.

The New York Post reported that Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, recently filed a declaration in a Washington, D.C. federal court. His filing targeted the current U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland, for his handling of specific audio recordings involving President Joe Biden.

The recordings in question stem from an interview conducted by special counsel Robert Hur.

Hur had been investigating allegations that President Biden might have retained and disclosed classified materials. While a transcript of this interview has been released, the audio remains confidential.

Transcript Released But Audio Withheld

Mukasey argues that the audio could shed further light on President Biden's mental acuity and other qualities.

Such insights, he claims, were crucial to Hur’s decision not to charge the President in February. By withholding these recordings, Mukasey believes Garland is failing to be transparent.

Garland's reasoning behind this decision rests on the assertion of executive privilege. However, Mukasey considers this move excessive, claiming it does not align with precedents like those set by the 2008 Executive Privilege Letter.

Various conservative groups and media outlets had previously brought lawsuits following a denied Freedom of Information Act request for the recordings. Moreover, the GOP-led House of Representatives is pursuing Garland in court over the same issue, demanding disclosure.

Mukasey holds that there’s no longer any "expectation of confidentiality" since the transcript is public. He criticized the reasons Garland offered for invoking executive privilege as "entirely unconvincing."

Mukasey Challenges the DOJ’s Stance

In his declaration, Mukasey expressed his general support for the necessity of executive privilege to protect sensitive information. Yet, he stressed that in this instance, the privilege was misapplied. "The assertion of executive privilege made here goes well beyond the limits of any prior assertion and is not supported by the 2008 Executive Privilege Letter or other precedents relied upon by the Department," Mukasey stated.

Mukasey further argued, "By pressing this flawed privilege assertion, the Department has lost sight of the true institutional interests of the presidency and is putting at risk the important traditions and principles on which the doctrine of executive privilege rests."

He underscored the public's right to access the recordings, considering that the information would likely contribute significantly to national understanding. “I believe the public has an overwhelming interest in hearing the audio recording and that that interest in disclosure overwhelms any conceivable intrusion on the President’s privacy interests,” Mukasey emphasized.

Despite these pressing arguments from Mukasey and others, the Justice Department has stated it will not prosecute Garland over his decision to withhold the recordings. This stance has only fueled further debates over the boundaries of executive privilege and transparency in governance.


To recap, Michael Mukasey's recent court declaration highlighted serious concerns about the use of executive privilege in withholding the audio recordings of President Biden's interview. Such reservations put a spotlight on the ongoing discussions about transparency, the limits of executive privilege, and their implications for both the presidency and public trust.

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