Special Counsel Hur to Publicly Testify on Biden Documents Probe: Source

Special Counsel Hur to Publicly Testify on Biden Documents Probe: Source
U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur delivers remarks during Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's farewell ceremony at the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building in Washington on May 9, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert Hur is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 12 on his investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, a source familiar with the matter told The Epoch Times on Feb. 15.

The hearing will be about Mr. Hur’s recently released report on the probe in which the special counsel declined to bring charges against the president but found that he had “willfully” retained classified documents.

The report also detailed findings on President Biden’s “poor memory,” which led to intense scrutiny of the president’s mental acuity, while sparking backlash from the administration. Biden officials have described the characterizations as politically motivated.

“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 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 Wilmington, Delaware, residence. The FBI also searched the president’s Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home, where they also found classified materials.

Nonetheless, Mr. Hur said 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 decision not to charge President Biden for allegedly mishandling classified materials contrasts with the treatment of former President Donald Trump for allegedly doing so after leaving the White House in January 2021; the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate was raided in 2022, and he was charged by special counsel Jack Smith in 2023. President Trump has pleaded not guilty; the trial is set to begin on May 20.

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

Mr. Hur interviewed President Biden over the span of two days last year.

Memory Issues

In deciding not to charge the president, Mr. Hur said a jury would be likely to be sympathetic, in part due to his cognitive issues.

“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,” Mr. Hur wrote.

“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.”

President Biden’s forgetfulness could be a rationale for unintentionally keeping the classified information, according to Mr. Hur.

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

“We expect Mr. Biden’s defense at trial would be that he thought his notebooks were his personal property and he was allowed to take them home, even if they contained classified information.”

Ahead of the report’s release, in a letter to Mr. Hur and deputy special counsel Marc Krickbaum, President Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, and the president’s special counsel, Richard Sauber, stated that while they are pleased their client didn’t get charged, they took issue with some of the main points in the report.

Mr. Bauer and Mr. Sauber objected to the findings about President Biden’s memory being poor. They contended the president “did well“ in answering ”questions about years-old events over the course of five hours.”

President Biden’s lawyers also said that their client’s “inability to recall dates or details of events that happened years ago is neither surprising nor unusual, especially given that many questions asked him to recall the particulars of staff work to pack, ship, and store materials and furniture in the course of moves between residences.”

The source familiar with the hearing said the hearing will focus on “everything” regarding the report.

White House Complains to Garland

President Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, and White House Counsel Ed Siskel wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Feb. 7, following up on their Feb. 5 letter to Mr. Hur and Mr. Krickbaum.

The Feb. 7 letter expressed objections to the report’s findings about the president’s memory—sentiments that Mr. Bauer and Mr. Siskel found “denigrating” and a violation of “longstanding [Department of Justice] practice and policy.”

“Even more striking is the fact that Mr. Hur’s criticism of President Biden mirrors one of the most widely recognized examples in recent history of inappropriate prosecutor criticism of uncharged conduct,” wrote Mr. Bauer and Mr. Siskel.

They blasted the report as having “openly, obviously, and blatantly violate[d] Department policy and practice as well as the bipartisan consensus on the appropriate limitations on special counsel reports.”

Politico and The New York Times first reported on the Feb. 7 letter.

From The Epoch Times

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