A Justice Department probe has determined that President Joe Biden did not violate any laws in his handling of classified documents found at his home and office.
In a 388-page report released on Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Hur revealed that the department had “uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” but that “the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“We decline prosecution of Mr. Biden,” the report says.
Hur, a Trump-appointed former federal prosecutor, was tapped to serve as special counsel on the case in January of last year. Though he exonerated Biden, his reported included several jabs at the president’s memory, describing him as a “as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“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,” Hur wrote.,
The special counsel added that Biden “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?’).” Hur also wrote that Biden did not remember “even within several year” when his son Beau died. Beau Biden died in 2015.
The special counsel report says that Biden did not remember “even within several years” when his son beau biden died. pic.twitter.com/phEnPyH4It
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 8, 2024
The White House was incensed. In a Feb. 5 letter to Hur, Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber and Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer wrote they “do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” and countered the special counsel’s characterization of Biden’s response to certain questions.
“The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” the attorneys wrote. “Such comments have no place in a Department of Justice report, particularly one that in the first paragraph announces that no criminal charges are ‘warranted’ and that ‘the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt.'”
Everyone should look at page 384 (I know it’s a lot to scroll down)
The inappropriate criticisms of the President’s memory are inaccurate, gratuitous, and wrong. We told the Special Counsel this. pic.twitter.com/Cr6VifBMnv
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) February 8, 2024
In a statement released Thursday, Biden said that the report covered an “exhaustive investigation going back more than 40 years, even into the 1970s when I was a young Senator. I cooperated completely, threw up no roadblocks, and sought no delays.”
“I was so determined to give the Special Counsel what they needed that I went forward with five hours of in-person interviews over two days on October 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7th and I was in the middle of handling an international crisis. I just believed that’s what I owed the American people so they could know no charges would be brought and the matter closed,” he added.
In January of last year, following the discovery of scores of classified documents at the home of former President Donald Trump, lawyers for Biden conducted a search of his office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement uncovered roughly 10 documents bearing classification markings. Additional documents were found in a second search of his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and the materials were turned over to the national archives.
The case was particularly notable given the ongoing Justice Department case against Trump, which has charged the former president with more than 40 federal counts related to his mishandling of classified documents. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a record or document, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheme to conceal, false statements and representations.
Hur distinguished Biden’s case from Trump’s in the report, writing that Trump “not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it. In contrast, Mr. Eiden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview. and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”
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