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Special counsel says Biden is ‘elderly man with poor memory’ and can’t recall when his son died

Special Counsel Robert Hur revealed in his report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents that the president has a poor memory and at times could not recall when he was vice president or when his son, Beau Biden, died.

In his report, released on Thursday, Mr Hur declined to prosecute Mr Biden for his mishandling of classified documents – saying that though the president retained documents containing sensitive information, he was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Hur also included that if Mr Biden were to appear in front of a jury he would seem like a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

The special counsel said Mr Biden’s poor memory was evident during interviews and while listening to recorded conversations he had in writing his 2017 memoir Promise Me, Dad. Mr Hur said the president’s memory “appeared to have significant limitations”, mentioning his failure to recall specific dates or eras of his life.

“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. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him.”

President Joe Biden walks towards to the Marine One prior to a South Lawn departure from the White House on February 7, 2024 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)
President Joe Biden walks towards to the Marine One prior to a South Lawn departure from the White House on February 7, 2024 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Mr Hur’s report comes after an approximately year-long investigation into Mr Biden’s handling of classified documents. Boxes of documents were found at the president’s Delaware home as well as his former Washington DC office.

The report says among the 37 classified documents, 21 were classified as secret and six were top secret. Investigators found notebooks that contained information about Afghanistan from internal White House briefings while Mr Biden was vice president.

Those notebooks were shared with a ghostwriter whom Mr Biden worked with on his memoir, despite the president knowing some of the information was sensitive.

Approximately a month after leaving the vice president’s office, Mr Biden told his ghostwriter, in a recorded conversation, that he “just found all this classified stuff downstairs.”

In a statement, Mr Biden said he was pleased with the conclusion of the investigation and mentioned the difficulty in recalling information spanning four decades.

“This was an exhaustive investigation going back more than 40 years, even into the 1970s when I was a young Senator. I cooperated completely, threw up no roadblocks, and sought no delays. In fact, I was so determined to give the Special Counsel what they needed that I went forward with five hours of in-person interviews over two days on October 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7th and I was in the middle of handling an international crisis,” Mr Biden said.

“I just believed that’s what I owed the American people so they could know no charges would be brought and the matter closed.”