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Biden Dismisses Faulty Memory Jabs from Special Counsel

Yet they form the foundation of his “acquittal.”

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Claims in a special counsel report that the president’s neurological decline has progressed to the point where he is too incompetent to be held accountable for alleged improper handling of sensitive documents drew rather furious responses from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Still, it seems obvious to a great many Americans that their president cannot possibly serve a second term. That the Biden campaign criticizes the integrity of the report further tarnishes the his credibility, amplifying the national anxiety about the 2024 presidential election.

An Awkward Offensive

The race to rewrite special counsel Robert K. Hur’s report about Biden’s handling of classified documents reveals an awkward, if not Orwellian, effort. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) labeled the findings “right-wing extremism,” while the president’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, claimed, “This is a report that went off the rails … A shabby work product.” Biden and his defenders found the report’s criticisms of Donald Trump legitimate while condemning any negative observations about Biden.

The mainstream media has rallied to the president. The New York Times proclaimed that “[t]he report … cleared Mr. Biden of criminal wrongdoing,” and the commander-in-chief made similar assertions at his Feb. 9 press conference:

“I’ve seen the headlines since the report was released about my willful retention of documents. This [undiscernible] assertion is not only misleading, they’re just plain wrong.

 

“That’s the counsel’s decision to make … And they decided not to move forward. For any extraneous commentary, they don’t know what they’re talking about. That has no place in this report. The bottom line is the matter is now closed.”

This effort to sweep clear prosecutorial conclusions under the Oval Office rug instead kicks up more dust. Hur found that Mr. Biden illegally handled documents; the special counsel’s comments about mental acuity were necessary to determine whether he could establish that such actions were intentional. The two factual issues – mishandling of documents and the mens rea (criminal intent) to knowingly have done so – are both essential elements for prosecution. Democrats’ efforts to separate these facts from the report’s conclusions are even less credible than the administration’s claims that Republicans won’t permit Biden to secure the Mexican border.

Hiding Biden

Tellingly, as the chief executive addressed the nation, he railed against a prosecutor conducting required work:

“I know there is some attention paid to some language in the report about my recollection of events. There is even reference that I don’t remember when my son died. How in the Hell dare he raise that? Frankly, when I was asked the question I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.”

GettyImages-2008436741 Joe Biden

Joe Biden (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

This indignation invites concerns over the president’s thinking processes – he is an attorney and surely understands that it is standard practice to ask such questions when assessing mental competence to stand trial or prove the intent element of a crime. The president defended himself against the faulty memory allegations by saying he never forgets because he wears every day “the rosary [Beau] got at Our Lady of …, ” unable to recall the name of the church. The Hur report noted other lapses and errors, including an inability to recall the name Roe v. Wade and the years when he was vice president.

Lying Again, or Forgetting Again?

There is little reasonable doubt that the president suffers from persistent memory problems. The special counsel report found “Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023.” Those lapses formed a substantial basis for the decision not to prosecute Biden for mishandling documents. Now Democrats and the White House dismiss the weak memory evidence that rescued him and claim he was somehow “proved innocent.”

In his public statements, Biden snapped back:

“I did not share classified information. I did not share it. [Reporter in background: With your ghostwriter?] … with my ghostrider [sic]. Guarantee you did not. [Reporter: But the counsel said you did.] No, they did not say that. They did not say that.”

Small wonder the White House seeks to bury that statement by omitting it from the transcript. The Hur report found that various documents – including notes and notebooks containing sensitive information – were recklessly kept in bags, boxes, and other unsecured means at several different locations. The prosecutor specifically determined that Biden had provided classified material to his ghostwriter:

“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen. These materials included (1) marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, and (2) notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods …

 

“Mr. Biden shared information, including some classified information, from those notebooks with his ghostwriter …

 

“[W]hile reading his notebook entries aloud during meetings with his ghostwriter, Mr. Biden sometimes skipped over presumptively classified material and warned his ghostwriter the entries might be classified, but at least three times Mr. Biden read from classified entries aloud to his ghostwriter nearly verbatim …

 

“Mr. Biden’s lapses in attention and vigilance demonstrate why former officials should not keep classified materials unsecured at home and read them aloud to others, but jurors could well conclude that Mr. Biden’s actions were unintentional. We therefore decline to charge Mr. Biden for disclosure of these passages to his ghostwriter.”

 

Contrary to the president’s and the media’s claims that Biden was “cleared of any wrongdoing,” the report concluded, “The practices of retaining classified material in unsecured locations and reading classified material to one’s ghostwriter present serious risks to national security, given the vulnerability of extraordinarily sensitive information to loss or compromise to America’s adversaries.”

Ignorance Is Bliss?

Either the president is a savvy dissembler who outsmarted the prosecutor by playing stupid, or his current behavior exhibits precisely the neurological/memory problems documented by Hur as (1) a hurdle to establishing intentional (rather than negligent) mismanagement of files, and (2) a problem for a sympathetic jury: “[H]e 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 eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

The Democrat response reflects how far fact-deniers will go to advance their power – their ends justify their means. But the end for America is the 2024 candidacy of a man with obvious memory struggles. Biden ironically lashed out at Republicans on Feb. 9: “Time and again, Republicans show they’re a party of chaos and disunion. This is not your father’s Republican Party. They shout about a problem but then do nothing to solve the problem.”

Presumably, the president’s deficiency will serve him equally well when he denies memory of his foreign dealings with son Hunter. This is not your father’s Democratic Party.

Read More From John Klar

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