The final report from Special Counsel Robert Hur probing Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents has been released. Appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland approximately 13 months ago, Hur was tasked with investigating potential mishandling of sensitive materials by the President. The comprehensive report concludes that while no chargeable offenses were committed, Biden’s memory limitations pose significant political challenges.
The report presents a concerning depiction of Biden’s recollection abilities. It states, “Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023.” The report also noted Biden’s cooperation with the investigation, including reporting that Afghanistan documents were in his Delaware garage. This cooperation could convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake rather than acting willfully to break the law, as the statute requires.
Despite acknowledging potential violations of legal statutes, which could amount to a felony, the Special Counsel refrained from pursuing charges due to Biden’s advanced age and cognitive challenges. The report stated, “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. Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt.”
The report further detailed instances where Biden struggled to remember key events and details. For instance, during the interview with their office, Biden could not recall when he served as Vice President or when his son, Beau, passed away. His memory also seemed hazy when discussing the Afghanistan debate that was once significant to him.
It was noted that “Mr. Biden’s recorded conversations with Zwonitzer from 2017 are often painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries. In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse.”
The Special Counsel’s report underscores that while Biden must be held accountable for his actions, convincing a jury to convict a former president in his eighties of a serious felony requiring a mental state of willfulness could be challenging. The report concludes, “For these jurors, Mr. Biden’s apparent lapses and failures in February and April 2017 will likely appear consistent with the diminished faculties and faulty memory he showed in Zwonitzer’s interview recordings and in our interview of him.”
In conclusion, the evidence does not establish that Mr. Biden willfully disclosed national defense information to Zwonitzer. FBI agents interviewed Moore, who believed a small closet containing classified documents was initially locked, but his memory was also unclear on this point.
This comprehensive investigation by Special Counsel Hur into Biden’s handling of classified documents reveals no chargeable offenses. However, the concern lies elsewhere – in the apparent cognitive challenges faced by the President, which have significant political implications. As we move forward, it is essential to consider how these revelations might impact future decisions and actions in the political sphere.