Special investigator does not charge Biden – but notes poor memory

US President Joe Biden is not charged in the affair surrounding the storage of secret documents – but the special investigator in charge received unflattering comments about his memory. Biden may have “intentionally” kept the documents from his time as vice president, but criminal charges are not justified in the case, special investigator Robert Hur said on Thursday. Biden seems like a “well-meaning, older man with a bad memory.”

In his report, Special Counsel Hur highlighted significant differences between the documents affair surrounding Biden and that surrounding his Republican predecessor Donald Trump. While Biden voluntarily turned over secret documents to the National Archives and cooperated during the investigation, Trump refused to return the documents “for many months.” In addition, according to the indictment against him, Trump “hired third parties to destroy documents and then lie about it.” Trump is expected to appear in court in May over the documents affair.

Hur’s report also included comments on the 81-year-old Biden’s mental abilities. During his investigation, it emerged that Biden could not remember the dates of his vice presidency under Barack Obama (2009 to 2017) and the death of his son Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015.

The opposition Republicans immediately took up these comments. House Speaker Mike Johnson and other lawmakers said after the report was published that it was “deeply disturbing.” The statement continued: “A man too incompetent to be held accountable for mishandling classified documents is certainly unfit for the Oval Office.”

Biden has caused a stir in recent days with several slips of the tongue during public appearances. On Wednesday evening, at an event to collect campaign donations in New York, he spoke of a conversation he had with Helmut Kohl at the 2021 G7 summit – but the long-time Chancellor had already died in 2017. Instead, Germany was represented by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).

Last week, Biden mentioned the G7 summit in 2021 in a speech in Las Vegas. He confused French President Emmanuel Macron with his predecessor François Mitterrand, who died almost 30 years ago, and initially referred to him as the head of state of Germany.

Polls show people in the United States are increasingly concerned about the advanced age of Biden, who wants to run for the presidency a second time.

The White House welcomed the special counsel’s decision not to indict Biden. However, it criticized “incorrect and inappropriate statements” in the special counsel’s report.

In a letter to Hur, attorneys Richard Sauber and Bob Bauer wrote that the report used “very biased language” to describe a “common phenomenon among witnesses: their inability to recall events that occurred several years ago.” . Such comments are “out of place in a Justice Department report.”

Biden himself said he was “pleased” about the decision on the documents affair, which he had expected. The matter was now “closed,” said the President. During his time as a politician, he was “always committed to protecting America’s security,” Biden added. “I take these issues seriously and no one has ever doubted it.”

At the end of 2022, around a dozen confidential government documents from his time as vice president were found in an office previously used by Biden. Additional secret documents were subsequently discovered in Biden’s garage and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed former federal prosecutor Robert Hur as special prosecutor in the Biden case. Hur was once appointed federal prosecutor by Trump.