An official report has revealed the extent of Joe Biden’s “significant limitations” with his memory and claims he could not remember when he was Vice President or even when his son died.
The report from Special Counsel Robert Hur found that President Biden “willfully” retained and disclosed highly classified materials when he was a private citizen, but said that, nonetheless, no criminal charges are warranted for him or anyone else.
The report said Biden’s memory faced “significant limitations” which left the President “struggling to remember events” including what years he was Vice President or when his son Beau died. The President’s late son died of brain cancer in 2015.
The report read: “In his interview with our office, Mr Biden’s memory was worse. He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’)
“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.”
The report comes after a yearlong investigation into the improper retention of classified documents by Biden, from his time as a senator and as vice president, that were found at his Delaware home, as well as at a private office that he used in between his service in the Obama administration and becoming president.
The investigation into Biden is separate from special counsel Jack Smith’s inquiry into the handling of classified documents by Trump after Trump left the White House.
Smith’s team has charged Trump with illegally retaining top secret records at Mar-a-Lago home and then obstructing government efforts to get them back. Trump has said he did nothing wrong.
“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” investigators wrote.
There is recent Justice Department precedence for criminal charges against individuals accused of sharing classified information with biographers or ghostwriters. Gen. David Petraeus pleaded guilty to doing exactly that in 2015 and was sentenced to probation.
Yet in this instance, prosecutors say, Biden could have plausibly believed that the notebooks were his personal property and belonged to him, even if they contained classified information.
In an interview with prosecutors, the report said, Biden was emphatic with investigators that the notebooks were “my property” and that “every president before me has done the exact same thing.”
White House lawyer Richard Sauber said Biden takes classified information seriously and “strives to protect it,” but making mistakes when packing documents at the end of an administration can be a common occurrence, as the report noted.