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Will Robert Hur Deliver the Goods on Joe Biden?

Republicans hope to capitalize on the special counsel’s testimony.

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Special Counsel Robert Hur will reportedly testify before a congressional committee on March 12 as House Republicans fight to get more documents related to Hur’s investigation from the Department of Justice (DOJ). Hur’s probe of Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents presents a stark contrast to the way the DOJ handled Trump’s document case – complete with an FBI raid on the former president’s home and a grand jury indictment. The special counsel can expect some tough questions from Republicans after he asserted in his final report that Biden would be unlikely to face conviction in a jury trial because of his age and failing memory.

The DOJ has been drip-feeding material to increasingly impatient GOP lawmakers. Hur will be expected to fill in a lot of gaps, though how cooperative he will be is in doubt. A Trump appointee, Hur has been slammed by the White House and Biden allies as a political hack, while many people on the right are wondering why he wouldn’t have recommended criminal charges for the man who collected decades of official documents and stored them willy-nilly in various inadequately secured locations.

Of course, the DOJ has a long-standing rule that sitting presidents are not criminally charged. Hur’s hypothetical scenario – laid out in his report – concerned the jury trial of a former President Biden, described as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Will Robert Hur Tell All?

Especially, Republicans are interested in the transcript of Biden’s interview with the special counsel team. The DOJ has thus far refused to hand it over. They will be looking to clarify a few things, such as who brought up Biden’s son, Beau, who passed away in 2015 – a victim of brain cancer. His father has repeatedly used his death to advance his cause, falsely claiming on several occasions that Beau, who served in a US Army non-combatant role, died in Iraq. Upon the public release of Hur’s report in February, the senior Biden expressed outrage that it claimed he “did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.” “How in the hell dare he raise that?” the president railed at reporters, “Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself, it wasn’t any of their damn business.” At least, that’s how Biden tells the story. Elsewhere, it has been reported that Biden was the one who first mentioned his son but could not seem to remember the year of his passing.

To clarify, Hur certainly didn’t let Biden off the hook – he merely pointed out that, in a criminal trial, a jury probably wouldn’t convict him. That’s debatable, of course. The report does say that Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified information.

Ironically, the chief executive’s lawyers complained to the DOJ about some of the statements in the report, arguing that it is improper to “criticize President Biden for a practice that his predecessors openly engaged in, a practice that the Justice Department has in the past acknowledged and declined to investigate.” It has been widely conceded that several (or more) past presidents retained documents after they left office, but this objection ignores the DOJ’s heavy-handed – many would say – pursuit of Donald Trump for the same actions.

With an eye on November, Republicans are certain to press Hur for examples of Biden’s failure to accurately recollect certain dates and events. Already, polls show that most Americans believe Biden’s cognitive decline renders him unfit to serve a second term. GOP lawmakers also will probably try to prod the special counsel into drawing comparisons between Trump and Biden, regarding the retention of documents. They have little chance of success because Hur isn’t at all likely to offer up any knowledge or even opinions of Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump.

Other lines of questioning may be designed to draw connections between the nature of some of the documents Biden kept from his years as vice president and his family business deals with overseas entities. The answers to such questions could figure into the Republicans’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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