Special Counsel Report on Biden’s Handling of Classified Documents: A Political Firestorm
The release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents has ignited a firestorm in the political landscape.
The 345-page report casted a harsh spotlight on President Biden’s handling of highly sensitive materials during his tenure as vice president.
The report absolves him of any criminal wrongdoing, but memory concerns and mental acuity were highlighted in the report.
Biden’s Memory Under the Microscope
Central to the report’s findings is a damning assessment of Biden’s memory, with investigators highlighting what they describe as “significantly limited” recollections of key events and conversations.
In a series of interviews conducted as part of the investigation, Biden’s responses raised eyebrows and fueled speculation about his mental fitness for office. From his inability to recall the timing of his son Beau’s passing to moments of confusion regarding his tenure as vice president, Biden’s memory lapses have become fodder for political pundits.
“His memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him,” the report said. “Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”
For Biden’s political adversaries, the report represents a potent weapon in their arsenal, providing ammunition for attacks on his leadership and casting doubt on his ability to govern effectively. The president faces an uphill battle to reassure a skeptical public and dispel lingering doubts about his fitness for office.
In a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 77% said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years. Not only do 89% of Republicans say that, so do 69% of Democrats.
Details from the Special Counsel Report
While no criminal charges will be brought against Biden, the report said that Biden “willfully” retained and disclosed highly classified materials when he was a private citizen.
The report said Biden haphazardly kept notebooks and documents with classified information at his home.
Hur also found evidence that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials to his ghost writer after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”
Among the issues examined by investigators was why Biden first told his ghostwriter that he had classified information in his possession back in 2017 but didn’t report it to authorities.
The special counsel concluded, however, that the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The report said a jury would find Biden to be “a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
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,” the report said.
The special counsel team conducted 173 interviews with 147 witnesses, including Biden, and collected millions of documents to compile the report. They said Biden cooperated with investigators and consented to searches of his properties.
White House Pushback and Furious Biden
In the aftermath of the report’s release, the White House has embarked on a vigorous campaign of pushback and defiance, seeking to discredit what it characterizes as a politically motivated attack on the president’s character and competence. Vice President Kamala Harris led the charge, lambasting the report as a partisan ploy designed to undermine the credibility of the Biden administration.
“The way the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly politically motivated,” Ms. Harris said in response to questions from reporters at the White House.
Echoing Harris’s sentiments, Democratic lawmakers have rallied to the president’s defense, decrying what they perceive as the special counsel’s unwarranted and prejudicial portrayal of Biden’s age and memory.
Representative Daniel S. Goldman of New York minced no words in denouncing what he termed “a very partisan stunt,” casting doubt on the impartiality of the investigation.
During a caucus retreat in Virginia Thursday, Biden was furious at the report suggesting he struggled to remember when his son Beau died in his interview with investigators.
“You think I would f—— forget the day my son died?” they said Biden told a group of House Democrats on the sidelines of a caucus retreat in Virginia Thursday, according to sources familiar with his comments.
Speaking from the Diplomatic Reception Room, Biden addressed the issue, stating, “I know what the hell I’m doing.”
“There’s even [a] reference that I don’t remember when my son died,” Biden said. “How in the hell dare he raise that?”
The president said he remembers his son’s death every day. “Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business,” he said. “I don’t need anyone to remind me of when he passed away.”