Hur testifies Biden ‘willfully retained classified materials,’

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  • Source: Fox News
  • 03/12/2024
Ex-Special Counsel Robert Hur testified Tuesday that President Biden "willfully retained classified materials," but said he "had to consider" the president’s "memory and overall mental state" when determining whether to bring charges against him.

Hur, who testified publicly before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees Tuesday, explained that he did not bring charges against the president despite the willful retention of classified records about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan and other countries, among other records related to national security and foreign policy, which Hur said implicated "sensitive intelligence sources and methods."

"My team and I conducted a thorough, independent investigation," Hur testified. "We identified evidence that the President willfully retained classified materials after the end of his vice presidency, when he was a private citizen." 

"This evidence included an audiorecorded conversation during which Mr. Biden told his ghostwriter that he had ‘just found all the classified stuff downstairs.' When Mr. Biden said this, he was a private citizen speaking to his ghostwriter in his private rental home in Virginia," Hur continued. "We also identified other recorded conversations during which Mr. Biden read classified information aloud to his ghostwriter."

He added, though, that "we did not, however, identify evidence that rose to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the evidence fell short of that standard, I declined to recommend criminal charges against Mr. Biden." 

But Hur said he "needed to explain why" he declined prosecution. 

"I had to consider the president’s memory and overall mental state, and how a jury likely would perceive his memory and mental state in a criminal trial," Hur testified. "These are the types of issues prosecutors analyze every day. And because these issues were important to my ultimate decision, I had to include a discussion of them in my report to the attorney general."

Hur, in his report, described Biden as a "sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory" — a description that has raised significant concerns for Biden's 2024 re-election campaign.

"The evidence and the President himself put his memory squarely at issue. We interviewed the President and asked him about his recorded statement, ‘I just found all the classified stuff downstairs.’ He told us that he didn’t remember saying that to his ghostwriter," Hur said. "He also said he didn’t remember finding any classified material in his home after his vice presidency. And he didn’t remember anything about how classified documents about Afghanistan made their way into his garage." 

Hur defended himself, though, saying his assessment in the report "about the relevance of the President’s memory was necessary and accurate and fair." 

"Most importantly, what I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows, and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe. I did not sanitize my explanation. Nor did I disparage the President unfairly," Hur testified. "I explained to the Attorney General my decision and the reasons for it. That’s what I was required to do." 

Hur’s opening statement came after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan began the hearing by playing a video of Biden speaking about the former special counsel’s report the day it was released. 

"Mr. Hur produced a 345-page report. But in the end, it boils down to a few key facts. Joe Biden kept classified information," Jordan said. "Joe Biden failed to properly secure classified information. And Joe Biden shared classified information with people he wasn't supposed to. 

"We're going to play a short video of President Biden's press conference after your report was released," Jordan added. "Because there's things in this press conference that the United States says that are directly contradicted by what you found in your report." 

A transcript of President Biden's interviews with Robert Hur appears to contradict Biden's claim that the former Special Counsel had asked him about the date of Beau Biden's death. 

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