A special counsel’s report into Joe Biden’s handling of classified material released today has good news for the president, and very bad news.
The good news is that Robert Hur did not recommend charges against Biden, likely spelling the end of any legal jeopardy for sloppy storage of documents, though the report says that “the practice of retaining classified material in unsecured locations poses serious risks to national security.”
The very bad news is that Hur delivered a devastating portrayal of Biden’s mental acuity, saying any jury would view him as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
Speculation about the extent to which Biden, the oldest president in American history, has lost a step has already been rampant. The president’s critics, including former President Donald Trump and many Republicans, have depicted Biden as senile. The president’s allies insist that he remains sharp, pointing to his record of accomplishments and, perhaps less charitably, suggesting that his long history of verbal slip-ups and gaffes shows little has changed.
Hur’s report makes the case that Biden’s faculties are diminished. The prosecutorial team reviewed recorded interviews with a ghostwriter for Biden’s book. “Mr. Biden’s recorded conversations with Zwonitzer from 2017 are often painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries,” the report states. It goes on to describe his interview with the special counsel this way: