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PBS Dismisses Biden’s Documents, Memory With Yale Law Professor (Biden Donor!)

pbs-dismisses-biden’s-documents,-memory-with-yale-law-professor-(biden-donor!)
PBS Dismisses Biden’s Documents, Memory With Yale Law Professor (Biden Donor!)

On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, the taxpayer-funded newscast labored to dismiss the special counsel’s report on Biden’s misuse of classified documents as nothing like Donald Trump’s misuse, and turned to a Yale Law professor named Oona Hathaway to explain why no one should care about this, or Biden’s failing mental capacity. They ran a clip of Biden proclaiming himself innocent. No Republicans were quoted in this report.

Here’s one way to know PBS rigged it: Oona Hathaway donated $1,500 to Biden for President in 2020. This, actually, is a bit of pattern. She donated $1,500 to Barack Obama in 2008 and $500 to Hillary Clinton in 2016. In 2010, she also has donated $1,000 to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) and $250 to Rep. Rosa DeLaura (D-Ct.) PBS didn’t disclose that record. 

Anchorman Geoff Bennett led Hathaway through the case. “So this investigation found that President Biden had willfully retained classified material after finishing his term as vice president and that he had shared sensitive information with a ghostwriter who helped him with his 2017 memoir. The president isn’t facing charges in what would typically be considered a felony. Does this outcome comport with the facts and evidence in the case?”

Hathaway naturally said yes, that “there are a number of reasons they don’t think a jury would be inclined to believe that in fact he behaved willfully.” Bennett just noted Biden read from the classified documents to his ghostwriter but hey, why would a juror find “he behaved willfully”?

Bennett then nudged the professor to explain how Trump’s case is much worse: “And the separate investigation into Donald Trump’s mishandling of classified documents, that resulted in 40 criminal counts against him. Remind us of the significant differences here, why Donald Trump is being prosecuted and President Biden isn’t.”

Hathaway’s defense of Biden omitted a major detail of Hur’s report, one Bennett himself had just raised: The 2017 recording of Biden acknowledging he had boxes of classified documents, contradicting the administration’s claim that all documents had been returned as soon as Biden became aware they were in his possession.

This was the kicker, where Bennett quoted from Biden’s angry lawyer about Hur’s “highly prejudicial language” (yeah, the media never uses that) and whether Hur crossed a line into “excess” in his findings: 

Geoff Bennett: And, on that point, Oona, the special counsel, Robert Hur, in this case, said that he chose not to bring charges in part because — this is from his report — “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Now, in response to this, the White House counsel and the president’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer, wrote a letter where they took issue with that. And they said that: “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses, which is a lack of recall after — of years-old events.”

This report reads like more than a recitation of facts. Does it cross the line into excess?

She agreed: 

Oona Hathaway: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, the report, when you read it, it’s clearly written for a public audience. It’s not written like a normal legal document. It’s not written in legalese, really. And certainly the beginning summary is written with a kind of audience in mind. It’s written with a public audience in mind and certainly with reporters in mind.

And it does characterize some of these events in ways that are kind of striking. That was one of the lines in particular that sort of jumps out. I mean, one way to read that and one way to say that differently would be to say, look, this is many years later, he doesn’t remember the exact contents of the documents.

And they go on later to explain that one of the reasons for that may be that, in fact, he may not even have known what documents exactly were removed from his office because he didn’t actually pack many of these boxes himself. In fact, very — he didn’t really pack any of these boxes himself. And he didn’t direct that many of these documents be removed.

And so the extent to which he actually knew some of these classified documents were in his office is hard to determine. And so when they were asking him some of these questions, he wasn’t recalling all the details. And that makes it hard to prove, I mean, because you have to show that there was intent, that he knew he had classified documents, that he had removed them, he intentionally retained them, and he knew that in doing so that he was acting unlawfully.

And that’s what you have to prove to convince a jury to convict. And I think, rightfully, the special prosecutor here decided that they just didn’t have the information that they would need to be able to convince a jury of that.

PS: Here is the list of Hathaway’s donations, which include $1,600 in donations to Democrats other than those above. (Below this screen capture is $100 to David Samuel Friedman in 2002. In total, it’s $6,350 in cash, all to Democrats: 

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