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White House Fumes Over Special Counsel Report Highlighting Biden’s ‘Poor Memory’

white-house-fumes-over-special-counsel-report-highlighting-biden’s-‘poor-memory’
White House Fumes Over Special Counsel Report Highlighting Biden’s ‘Poor Memory’

President Joe Biden’s White House counsel erupted over the special counsel’s report from the criminal investigation into Biden’s handling of classified material, specifically over portions of the report that highlighted Biden’s serious memory issues.

Richard Sauber, Special Counsel to the President, and Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal counsel, wrote in a letter to Special Counsel Robert Hur that they “do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate.”

The report said that even though Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” prosecutors concluded that “no criminal charges are warranted in this matter.”

The report’s summation of Biden’s mental fitness could be highly damaging his re-election campaign as American voters overwhelmingly — 76% — have concerns about the 81-year-old’s mental and physical health.

“Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017 [with whom he shared classified materials], and in his interview with our office in 2023,” the special counsel report said in its executive summary. “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.”

Prosecutors said that based on the way Biden presents, jurors will “want to identify reasonable doubt” and that 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.”

Biden’s lawyers claimed that the report used “highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

They claimed that the factual remarks from prosecutors “have no place in a Department of Justice report,” adding that there was “ample evidence” that Biden “did well” when being questioned.

Biden’s lawyers blamed the October 7 terrorist attack in Israel for Biden’s memory issues, saying that the interview took place the following day.

The lawyers complained that the special counsel did not take issue with witnesses who were interviewed who could not remember past details, even though they were not under criminal investigation, unlike Biden. Biden’s lawyers attempted to downplay the seriousness of his memory problems, arguing his “inability to recall dates or details of events that happened years ago is neither surprising nor unusual.”

However, as the special counsel’s report outlines, many of the details that Biden struggled to remember were major events, and he showed clear signs of memory issues during recordings from when he was interviewed by a ghostwriter in 2017.

The interview with the ghostwriter, with whom Biden shared classified material, showed that even then, Biden was “struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries,” the special counsel said, adding that even in 2017, he was showing signs of “diminished faculties and faulty memory.”

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“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” Hur said. “He 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?”).”

“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report continued. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. 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.”

Biden’s lawyers claimed that the special counsel treated Biden “differently from other witnesses,” even though Biden was the one under investigation, and that they described Biden’s memory “in prejudicial and inflammatory terms.”

“You refer to President Biden’s memory on at least nine occasions, a number that is itself gratuitous,” Biden’s lawyers complained. “But even among those nine instances, your report varies. It is one thing to observe President Biden’s memory as being ‘significantly limited’ on certain subjects. It is quite another to use the more sweeping and highly prejudicial language employed later in the report. This language is not supported by the facts, nor is it appropriately used by a federal prosecutor in this context.”

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