Biden, in Expletive-Laden Tirade, Lashes Out at Prosecutor’s Report Calling Him an ‘Elderly Man With a Poor Memory’
‘You think I would f—— forget the day my son died?’ the president reportedly tells Democratic lawmakers.
President Biden is angrily pushing back at suggestions from Special Counsel Robert Hur, in a report issued Thursday, that he willingly shared highly classified information with a ghostwriter working on his memoir and has suffered a significant loss in mental capacity in recent years.
Speaking to reporters at the White House Thursday evening following release of the long-awaited report, the president flatly denied the special counsel’s assertions about his mishandling of the documents and lashed out at the description of him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” He said he was unaware how the documents in question landed in the garage of his home in Delaware.
Mr. Biden insisted that his “memory is fine” and pushed back against details in the report about him forgetting when he left office and the timing of the death of one of his sons, Beau Biden, who died in 2015 after a tour in Iraq. “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Mr. Biden said, saying the death was none of the special counsel’s business.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the president was even more forceful during a private meeting with unnamed House Democrats meeting in Virginia at a party retreat. “You think I would f—— forget the day my son died?” the president reportedly said.
Mr. Biden blamed some of the memory lapses reported by the special counsel on the rigors of sitting for hours of interviews in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attacks by Hamas against civilians in Israel.
“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.”
During Thursday’s press conference at the White House, meant to reassure Americans of his capacity to serve a second term, the president erroneously referred to Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, as the president of Mexico.
The special counsel’s report absolved the president of any criminal culpability for the mishandling of documents but raised serious questions about his mental acuity — a constant cause for concern among voters as the nation heads into what will presumably be a rematch between him and President Trump in November.
In his report, Mr. Hur said many of the document in question were retained by “mistake” after Mr. Biden left office. Others, however, were apparently kept deliberately so Mr. Biden could make the case to his ghostwriter that he was correct to oppose a troop surge in Afghanistan in 2009. Mr. Biden’s memoirs were published in 2007 and 2017.
Evidence suggests, the special counsel reported, that Mr. Biden knew the documents in question were sensitive and belonged under lock and key in a secure facility. Instead, he said, they were kept in unlocked drawers at Mr. Biden’s Delaware home.
“He had strong motivations … to ignore the rules for properly handling the classified information in his notebooks,” the report said. “He consulted the notebooks liberally during hours of discussions with his ghostwriter and viewed them as highly private and valued possessions with which he was unwilling to part.”
In his report, Mr. Hur attempted to draw a distinction the case of Mr. Biden and that of Mr. Trump, who is facing criminal charges for hoarding documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and then obstructing government efforts to recover them.
Mr. Hur, said there were “several material distinctions” between the Trump and Biden cases, noting that Mr. Trump’s refusal to turn over the documents was deliberate and that Mr. Biden willfully handed them over when asked.
Despite the report’s conclusions, Mr. Trump late Thursday seized on it as evidence of a politically motivated prosecution of him. In a statement, Mr. Trump repeated his assertion that he did nothing wrong in the documents case.
“This has now proven to be a two-tiered system of justice and unconstitutional selection prosecution” Mr. Trump’s statement, much of it written in all capital letters, said. “The Biden Documents Case is 100 times different and more severe than mine.”