Special Counsel: Biden Should Face No Charges despite ‘Willfully Retaining’ Classified Docs
A highly anticipated report on President Joe Biden’s past mishandling of classified documents has concluded that he should not be charged with a crime, despite admitting that the former vice president knew of the illegality of his actions at the time.
The special counsel report released Thursday revealed that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen” that contained “issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods.” However, the report concluded that “no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” which observers say raises deep concerns over the impartiality of the U.S. Department of Justice, which has simultaneously pursued criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for allegedly retaining classified material illegally.
Special Counsel Robert Hur’s 345-page report appears to rely on Biden’s apparent cognitive decline in order to recommend that the former vice president face no criminal charges. During interviews with Hur related to the investigation, Biden came across as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Therefore, Hur concluded, “It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him.”
Nonetheless, Hur’s report goes on to admit:
Some evidence also suggests Mr. Biden knew he could not keep classified handwritten notes at home after leaving office. Mr. Biden, who had decades of experience with classified information, was deeply familiar with the measures taken to safeguard classified information and the need for those measures to prevent harm to national security. … Yet he kept his notebooks, which also contained classified information, in unlocked drawers at home.
As reported by The Federalist, the amount of classified material that Biden unlawfully retained possession of was not insignificant. The report “reveals the government recovered more than 300 pages of top-secret and classified documents” that were in Biden’s possession in his Delaware home in January of last year, including a hard drive. This directly contradicts a statement made by Biden’s attorney at the time, in which it was claimed that the DOJ took possession of just “six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials.”
On Thursday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” Jeff Clark, senior fellow and director of Litigation at the Center for Renewing America expressed the fact that he was not surprised by the special counsel’s recommendation not to prosecute Biden.
“I think this is predictable,” he observed. “Everybody knew that this is where Biden and [U.S. Attorney General] Garland had lined things up to go. I think Hur was essentially kind of working within his implicit marching orders. … It seems like he’s doing that under what I’ll call the ‘senility exception,’ that, President Biden has a poor memory at this point. [However], [h]e didn’t always have a poor memory. He wasn’t always old. And as Biden himself was noting, this goes back to the time not just that he was vice president for Obama, but to the time where he was a senator. So did he have a poor memory during all of those periods of time? I don’t think so.”
Clark continued, “[T]he argument of prosecutors, if they were being energetic, would be, ‘You didn’t have [poor memory] at this time. You knew when you took these documents from Afghanistan and other national security documents that this was a serious matter.’ If you’re applying the same standards to him as you are to President Trump, … he’s actually more poorly situated than Trump, because he was only a vice president. And vice presidents don’t have declassification authority unless the president gives it to him. And then he was a senator where he had zero declassification authority. So, it’s just a whitewash, Tony. It’s really another travesty.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.