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White House goes on attack against special counsel over Biden age, memory

White House goes on attack against special counsel over Biden age, memory

The White House went on the attack Friday against a special counsel report that gave Republicans and critics of President Biden new ammunition to go after his age and fitness for office.

Ian Sams, the spokesperson for the White House counsel’s office who rarely appears at the briefing room podium, blasted “gratuitous” passages in the report by special counsel Robert Hur that characterized Biden as an elderly man with memory problems.

Sams pointedly criticized the report, which recommended no charges against Biden for his handling of classified documents, for the age-related remarks seized upon by Republicans.

“When the inevitable conclusion is that the facts and the evidence don’t support any charges, you’re left to wonder why this report spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms of the president,” Sams said.

The White House in general on Friday suggested the pointed sections about Biden’s age and memory represented a political attack.

Sams did not target Hur’s motivation in his remarks, but speaking earlier, Vice President Harris described it as a “politically motivated” report and attacked Hur’s integrity. Hur was appointed to a position in government by former President Trump, though he was appointed as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“So the way the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts, and clearly politically motivated,” Harris said. “And so I will say, when it comes to the role and responsibility of a prosecutor in a situation like that, we should expect that there would be a higher level of integrity than what we saw.”

Biden spoke out angrily about the report in a televised appearance before reporters Thursday night. But during that appearance, he also stumbled, confusing the president of Egypt with the president of Mexico.

The president lashed out at the special counsel for including comments about his memory and he appeared to get emotional in bashing the part of the report that Hur claims Biden forgot when his son, Beau Biden, died.


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Age has become a huge political issue for the 81-year-old president, who is likely to face 77-year-old former President Trump in November.

Polls consistently show voters hold doubts about Biden’s fitness for office, and Hur’s report gave ample ammunition to Trump and his allies to go on the attack.

Sams argued the general public would understand Hur’s report included inappropriate comments.

“I think the public is smart, I think they can see what is going on,” he said.

“I think they can understand, you know, when people … make comments that they shouldn’t make and are beyond the remit of a prosecutor to do, I think they understand that,” Sams added. “I think they understand that … the president did the right thing here.”

The White House has pushed back on polls that show voters think Biden is too old for a second term, pointing instead to his accomplishments as president.

Biden met with Hur in the days immediately following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

When questioned why Biden didn’t postpone the interview because he was busy, Sams said, “the president was going to commit to being corporative.”

Sams also claimed the special counsel remarked at the time that he knew the president was dealing with a lot at the beginning of their interview.

Biden, in his remarks Thursday, angrily defended his memory and lashed out at the special counsel for including information about his memory during interviews.

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