The White House on Friday attempted to discredit observations by special counsel Robert Hur that have renewed questions about President Biden’s mental acuity.
Spokesman for Oversight and Investigations Ian Sams said the report cleared Biden of any wrongdoing related to his handling of classified documents, but offered sharp criticism of Hur’s description of the president as a ‘sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’
‘Unfortunately, the gratuitous remarks that the former attorney general talked about have naturally caught headlines in all of your attention,’ Sams told reporters at the daily White House press briefing. ‘They’re wrong and they’re inaccurate.’
Hur had investigated Biden’s improper retention of classified records since last year and released a report detailing his findings on Thursday. Those records included classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, among other records related to national security and foreign policy which Hur said implicated ‘sensitive intelligence sources and methods.’
However, the special counsel declined to bring charges against Biden. Hur, throughout the more than 300-page report, said ‘it would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him’ of a serious felony ‘that requires a mental state of willfulness,’ and said he would be ‘well into his eighties.’
Sams called the findings of no criminal wrongdoing by Biden accurate while hitting Hur’s observations of Biden’s mental state as ‘gratuitous and inappropriate.’ He pointed to statements by former Attorney General Eric Holder and other ex-DOJ officials who have criticized Hur’s commentary on Biden as inconsistent with DOJ traditions and political.
‘The report lays out example after example of how the president did not willfully take classified documents. The report lays out how the president did not share classified documents with anyone. The report lays out how the president did not knowingly share classified information with anyone,’ Sams told reporters. ‘On page two, which I know you all read, the report argues that the president willfully retained materials but buried way later on page 215, the report says, and I quote, there is in fact, ‘a shortage of evidence on these points.’’
‘Put simply, this case is closed because the facts and the evidence don’t support the theories here. The gratuitous comments that respected experts are saying is out of line are inappropriate, and they shouldn’t distract from the fact that this case is closed and the facts and evidence show that they reached the right conclusion,’ he said.
Biden spoke about the report in a brief address to the nation from the White House Thursday night, where he angrily confronted reporters’ questions about his age.
‘I’m well-meaning, and I’m an elderly man and I know what the hell I’m doing,’ Biden said. ‘I’ve been president. I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation.’
‘My memory is fine,’ Biden added.
The president was particularly incensed at Hur’s suggestion that he did not remember when his son Beau died during an interview.
‘How dare he raise that?’ Biden said. ‘Frankly, when I was asked a question, I thought to myself, what’s that any of your damn business?’
‘Let me tell you something…I swear, since the day he died, every single day…I wear the rosary he got from Our Lady —’ Biden stopped, seemingly forgetting where the rosary was from.
Later in his remarks to the press, Biden referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the ‘president of Mexico.’
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.