Biden defends his memory in surprise speech after special counsel report

11-02-2024 10:11 AM

Ammon News - Joe Biden made a short last-minute speech on Thursday after a report from the justice department questioned his ability to remember key events and facts while also clearing him of criminal charges over his handling of highly classified materials.

In his fiery remarks, he sought to emphasize that he participated in a five hour interview for the investigation in the days after the 7 October attack on Israel, when he was occupied with pressing concerns. “I was in the middle of handling an international crisis,” he said.

He also read a section from the report that detailed the distinction between his handling of documents with Donald Trump’s. The former president notably instructed people in his circle to obscure and move documents at his private residence in Mar-a-Lago.

“My memory is fine,” Biden also told a reporter when taking questions. However, Biden made one error in his remarks, mistaking Mexico and Egypt, in a response to a question on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The year-long investigation by special counsel Robert Hur centered on Biden’s improper retention of highly classified documents from his time as a senator and as vice-president to Barack Obama.

Hur, a Republican, found that Biden “willfully” retained and disclosed the materials, including documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan. The report includes photos of documents inside a damaged cardboard box in the garage of his Delaware home. In his speech, Biden called the idea that he willfully retains documents “misleading and just plain wrong”.

Among the reasons Hur gave for not bringing charges was a concern that jurors would not believe that Biden knowingly kept the documents. The special counsel explicitly referenced the 81-year-old’s “significantly limited” memory – an incendiary topic in this year’s election – including his inability to remember what year his son Beau died.

“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,” 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 80s – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

The Guardian

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