Hur’s assessment of Biden’s “significantly limited” memory also played a part in his decision not to prosecute
Question: If Biden’s memory is too limited to face prosecution, why is he still president?
Special Counsel Robert Hur will not charge President Joe Biden for his handling of classified documents but included stunning revelations in his report of the deterioration of Biden’s mental state that are perhaps more politically damning.
The report says the investigation “uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen” but does not establish guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Yet Hur’s assessment of Biden’s “significantly limited” memory also played a part in his decision not to prosecute.
“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the report states. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt.”
“It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
Biden was ‘painfully slow’ in interviews with the Department of Justice and ‘strained to read his own NOTEBOOK’
- Long-awaited report reveals an 81-year-old president suffering memory lapses
- ‘He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,’ it said
- Biden said he had cooperated fully and that the matter was now closed
A special counsel did not recommend charging Biden over documents found at his home and an office.
But Robert Hur’s 388-page report offers a welter of evidence for the president’s opponents who say he lacks the mental capacity at age 81 to be reelected in November.
It describes how hours of recordings with his ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer revealed him struggling to remember details.
‘Mr. Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations—both at the time he spoke to Zwonitzer in 2017, as evidenced by their recorded conversations, and today, as evidenced by his recorded interview with our office,’ reads the report.
Biden found himself in the spotlight after his predecessor Donald Trump was charged with illegally keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.
Hur spent a year investigating. His report will likely undermine the Biden campaign’s attempts to use the charges against Trump in the 2024 election.
Instead there is plentiful ammunition for Trump, with a series of revelations about Biden’s mental sharpness.
It describes his failure to remember key dates in his career and his personal life when he was interviewed by investigators.
‘He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (“if it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?”), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (“in 2009, am I still Vice President?”),’ he reportedly said.
‘He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.’
He was also apparently hazy on the debate around withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, which was such a key part of the first months of his presidency.
‘We also expect many jurors to be struck by the place where the Afghanistan documents were ultimately found in Mr. Biden’s Delaware home: in a badly damaged box in the garage, near a collapsed dog crate, a dog bed, a Zappos box, an empty bucket, a broken lamp wrapped with duct tape, potting soil, and synthetic firewood,’ the report concludes.
Photographs in the report include some of the classified Afghanistan documents, showing how they were apparently stored with other household items, including a ladder and a wicker basket.
The material included notebooks with handwritten entries ‘implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods’ taken from White House briefings.
The investigation said there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Biden was aware that he was not allowed to keep such classified notes after leaving office, pointing out that his long Washington career meant he was familiar ‘with the measures taken to safeguard classified information and the need for those measures to prevent harm to national security.’
Even so, notebooks crammed with classified information were stored in unlocked drawers at his home.
And it was not simply the case that the notebooks were misplaced and forgotten.
‘He consulted the notebooks liberally during hours of discussions with his ghostwriter and viewed them as highly private and valued possessions with which he was unwilling to part,’ writes Hur.
Biden said he was pleased that no charges would be brought and declared the matter closed.