The special prosecutor investigating the case of the classified documents that were found last year on Joe Biden, Robert Hur, has decided not to file criminal charges. In his investigation, he has discovered that the president “voluntarily” took the documents after ending his term as vice president in 2017 and that he shared their contents with third parties. However, he does not consider it enough to charge him.
Among the material, found at his residence in Delaware and in his former office in Washington, was information on Afghanistan and notebooks with sensitive information, in the form of handwritten notes “that implicated intelligence sources and methods” taken during meetings in the House. White. The prosecutor claims in his 388-page report that the president showed some of the documents to a writer who helped him write his memoirs (Promise Me, Dad) published in 2017.
In his report, he explains that, during the two-day statement he made to him in October, the president demonstrated “serious limitations” of memory, since “he did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended, and forgetting on the second day when it started.” The report added that “his memory of him seemed hazy when describing the debate over Afghanistan, which was once so important to him.” These statements represent a new political blow against the president, unpopular due to his advanced age, by portraying him as a worn-out octogenarian.
Attorney General Merrick Garland of the Biden administration’s Justice Department appointed Hur to conduct the investigation early last year, with the goal of making it independent of the president’s government. Hur was a Justice Department official during the administration of Donald Trump, who was charged with up to 41 criminal offenses for taking and retaining classified documents.
“We conclude that the evidence does not prove Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hur states in his brief, in which he states that his decision not to file criminal charges would have been the same if Justice Department policy did not prevent impeach a sitting president. The president thus avoids becoming the first president charged while in office.
After learning of the report with the prosecutor’s conclusions, Biden sent a statement to the press in which he was “pleased” by their decision not to charge him and assured that “the matter is closed.” “I cooperated fully, did not put up obstacles or seek delays. In fact, I was so determined to give the Special Prosecutor what he needed that I went ahead with five hours of in-person interviews over two days, on October 8 and 9 of last year, at Even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7 and I was in the middle of an international crisis,” he says, “I just believed that was what I owed the American people.”
The prosecutor says the case is less serious than Trump’s because he “cooperated” and the number of documents was smaller
Although classified documents were found for both presidents after ending their term in the White House, Biden’s case is different from Trump’s, as Hur specifies in his report. A few dozen were found on the first, while more than a thousand on the second, and, while Biden “cooperated with investigators,” Trump refused to collaborate with justice until the FBI entered his private club in Mar-a-Lago and found the documents.
This has been one of the important elements that have determined their decision not to charge him. However, this decision will give new arguments to the former president’s theory that he is the victim of a “witch hunt” by the current administration, which initiated the case of his classified documents.
The special prosecutor assures that the main argument for a prosecution of Biden would be a conversation recorded at another property in Virginia, in February 2017, where Biden told the writer of his memoir that he had just found “all the classified material.”
However, Hur says that a jury would still be unlikely to convict him, because he routinely withheld documents during his presidency legally, and could have forgotten them. Specifically, in the report he explains that it would be difficult to convince a jury after he left office that “a former president in his eighties” was guilty of a serious crime that “requires a state of mind of voluntariness.”