In a 388-page report released Thursday, special counsel Robert Hur laid out why the Justice Department won’t be pressing charges against President Joe Biden for retaining classified documents from his vice presidency. But the report has prompted some Democrats to criticize Hur for alleging the 81-year-old president has a “significantly limited” memory.
Hur, a Republican, served as U.S. attorney of Maryland from 2018 to 2021, after being appointed by former President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions. He previously clerked for two well-known conservative judges, including archconservative Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist.
Hur left his U.S. attorney post in 2021 to become a partner at the D.C.-based law firm Gibson Dunn. He was there until last January, when Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped him to oversee the department’s probe into Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified materials.
“Mr. Hur has a long and distinguished career as a prosecutor,” Garland said when announcing Hur as his pick for special counsel. “I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this Department.”
As Hur’s investigation of Biden began, he vowed to carry it out “with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment.”
“I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service,” he said at the time.
While Hur ultimately cleared Biden of any wrongdoing, he knocked the president’s mental acuity ― a detail that some Democrats said was extraneous, strange and unfair.
The report went “a little far” by critiquing Biden’s mental sharpness, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told HuffPost, complaining about Trump’s own “wild factual errors.”
Hur’s mandate “was to judge whether a crime was committed... not speculate on what the jury would do, not to speculate on how full or sharp Joe Biden’s mind is,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) similarly said.
Prior to being U.S. attorney, Hur was an assistant U.S. attorney for Maryland for seven years. He also clerked for Rehnquist and for former Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Kozinski is perhaps best known for stepping down in disgrace in 2017 after more than a dozen former female law clerks and staffers accused him of sexual harassment and abuse.