Hur Defends Comments on Biden’s Memory, Decision Not to Prosecute

Hur Defends Comments on Biden’s Memory, Decision Not to Prosecute
Special Counsel Robert Hur testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on his probe into President Joe Biden's alleged mishandling of classified materials after serving as vice president, on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 12, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Robert Hur will defend his decisions surrounding his probe of whether President Joe Biden mishandled classified information before the House Judiciary Committee on March 12—including his comments on the president’s memory.

The special counsel took flak from all sides over his Feb. 8 report detailing the findings of his investigation. While Republicans criticized his decision not to prosecute, the White House decried his depiction of President Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

During the hearing, Mr. Hur is expected to defend both of those moves.

“The need to show my work was especially strong here. The Attorney General had appointed me to investigate the actions of the Attorney General’s boss, the sitting President of the United States. I knew that for my decision to be credible, I could not simply announce that I recommended no criminal charges and leave it at that. I needed to explain why,” Mr. Hur wrote in his opening statement for the hearing.

During questioning, he noted, “the evidence and the President himself put his memory squarely at issue” as he repeatedly said he could not recall relevant facts, events, and information.

“My assessment in the report about the relevance of the President’s memory was necessary and accurate and fair. Most importantly, what I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows, and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe. I did not sanitize my explanation. Nor did I disparage the president unfairly. I explained to the Attorney General my decision and the reasons for it. That’s what I was required to do.”

According to Mr. Hur, his team found evidence that the president willfully retained classified materials after his vice presidency. But that evidence, he said, did not rise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Because the evidence fell short of that standard, I declined to recommend criminal charges against Mr. Biden,” he wrote.

Republicans on the committee are not expected to hold back as they thoroughly question Mr. Hur over his probe of President Biden allegedly mishandling classified information, a source familiar with the upcoming hearing told The Epoch Times.

During the hearing, the committee members will decry what they say is a two-tiered justice system, given special counsel Jack Smith’s decision to charge former President Donald Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents while Mr. Hur decided not to charge President Biden for doing the same, according to the source.

The Republicans on the committee will also highlight what they say is an aggressive approach by the DOJ to President Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified materials, said the source familiar with the hearing, which will likely be contentious.

The hearing comes as the Judiciary Committee has still yet to receive transcripts, audio recordings, video, and notes of Mr. Hur’s two-day interview with President Biden, the source said. The Justice Department had until March 7 to comply with a subpoena for those materials.

“Americans expect equal justice under the law, and DOJ is allowing the Bidens to operate above it,” said House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) in a Feb. 27 statement. “Special Counsel Hur’s report outlined that classified documents Joe Biden stashed for years relate to countries where his family cashed in on the Biden brand.”

This is the second time the committees have asked the DOJ to turn over the records, the first time being on Feb. 12.

The DOJ also has not complied with a request to turn over to the committee transcripts and audio from Mark Zwonitzer, the ghostwriter of President Biden’s two memoirs, according to the source, who said a subpoena to get those materials is possible.

Mr. Hur announced on Feb. 8 that President Biden would not be charged.

“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” Mr. Hur wrote in a 388-page report to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The materials, the report stated, included “marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, and notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods.” The FBI collected these items last year during a search of President Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware

Also last year, the FBI searched the president’s home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where classified materials were also found.

Nonetheless, Mr. Hur said in his report that “the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” and that “prosecution of Mr. Biden is also unwarranted based on our consideration of the aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in the Department of Justice’s Principles of Federal Prosecution.”

The classified documents are from President Biden’s more than four-decade career in politics, which has included the Senate, the vice presidency, and now the presidency.

In deciding not to charge the president, Mr. Hur said in his report that a jury likely would not convict him, in part due to his cognitive issues.

The Afghanistan documents, which had the highest level of classification in the United States, were from 2009, according to the report. These papers were in a Virginia home that President Biden rented in 2019 and where he met with a ghostwriter for his two books before the classified documents were sent to Delaware.

President Biden’s forgetfulness could be a rationale for unintentionally keeping the classified information, Mr. Hur wrote in his report.

Additionally, the FBI found notebooks from President Biden’s time as vice president that he knew “contained classified information,” the special counsel said.

Nonetheless, the evidence wouldn’t “meet the government’s burden at trial—particularly the requirement to prove that Mr. Biden intended to do something the law forbids,” he stated. 

In addition to the president’s Delaware homes and the rented Virginia home, classified documents were also found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington and the University of Delaware, according to the report.

The report referenced classified materials related to the 2015 phone call between then-Vice President Biden and then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in which the U.S. vice president called for the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.

The GOP committees have requested the classified information.

From The Epoch Times

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