Outraged Republicans on Capitol Hill said Friday that President Biden had threatened national security and is no longer fit to remain in office following the release of a shocking special counsel report that determined the 81-year-old had “willfully” kept and shared classified information — but would not be charged in part because of his cognitive decline.
Robert Hur declined to bring a case against Biden, according to a 388-page report released Thursday on his investigation, even as he concluded the commander-in-chief wrongly hoarded documents dating from his time in the US Senate and “disclosed classified materials” to his ghostwriter after leaving office as Barack Obama’s vice president in 2017.
However, Hur added, in addition to longstanding Justice Department guidance against charging sitting presidents, reasonable doubt existed that Biden may have “forgotten” he had the sensitive files or neglected to remember their whereabouts, given his “limited precision and recall” in interviews both with the ghostwriter and Hur’s investigators.
The special counsel added that if the evidence was raised at a federal trial, “Biden would likely present himself to the jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”
The president railed against Hur’s findings in a White House press conference Thursday night, calling assertions about his “willful” retention of the documents “plain wrong.”
“I am well-meaning, and I’m an elderly man and I know what the hell I’m doing,” Biden said. “I’ve been president and I put this country back on its feet.”
Republican leaders of the Senate and House Select Intelligence Committees disagreed.
“President Biden willfully hoarded classified information from his decades in the Senate and time as Vice President, yet Special Counsel Robert Hur has decided not to recommend charges against him,” House Intelligence chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.
“There is clearly a two-tiered system of justice in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice,” he added, referencing former President Donald Trump’s indictment for keeping classified documents at his Palm Beach, Fla., residence.
“The report states Biden kept materials with ‘sensitive intelligence sources and methods,’” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), another panel member, told The Post. “As a veteran and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I’m concerned as to the extent of the damage to national security.”
“The special counsel decided not to bring charges against Biden because they believe he has age related dementia,” Senate Intelligence ranking member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) posted on X, referencing portions of the report that noted the president could not recall as vice president “when his term ended” or “when his term began.”
Biden also “did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” according to the report.
The passing of the president’s eldest son occurred on May 30, 2015, and was the main focus of Biden’s 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad,” written with the help of his ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer.
Democratic leaders of the panels in both chambers — Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) and Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.) — did not respond to requests for comment.
The revelation of Biden’s major memory lapses prompted Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) to fire off a letter Thursday night to Attorney General Merrick Garland — who appointed Hur in January of last year — in which she described the report’s details about Biden’s “dramatically compromised mental faculties” as “alarming.”
“We don’t prosecute or decline to prosecute people based on their personalities, or on the public’s anticipated perception of them,” Tenney wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Post. “If Special Counsel finds that the evidence forms a reasonable basis to bring charges, he must do so.”
If not, she added, the report “makes a reasonable case” that “he is not mentally competent to stand trial” — and Garland should begin proceedings to remove the President pursuant to the 25th Amendment,” which allows for the vice president and Cabinet to remove the commander in chief if he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
“There is no middle ground,” Tenney emphasized.
Biden loosely stored the documents in cardboard boxes kept in the garage of his Wilmington, Del., estate, and in other locations like his Penn Biden Center think tank office — a dozen of which contained top secret information and scores of which were secret or confidential.
Some dated back roughly a half century to his first years in the US Senate.
“It was in my house. It wasn’t out, like in Mar-a-Lago, in a public place,” Biden said in his Thursday evening press conference, contrasting his actions with Trump’s.“And none of it was high [sic] classified.”
In a speech to House Democrats earlier on Thursday, Biden had also maligned Hur as a “Republican counsel” — despite the federal prosecutor being praised by Maryland’s two Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, upon his appointment by Trump in 2018.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, told The Post that the damning conclusions about Biden’s mental capabilities may be “inspiring our adversaries.”
“I was at the White House for 14 years. I took care of three presidents,” Jackson said, referring to his service under Trump, President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush. “I know what it takes, physically and cognitively, mentally to do this job. And I knew before he was even president that he was nowhere close to having what it takes to do this job.”
“Every day, there are world leaders out there that are taking advantage of this country because they see the Biden administration as a window of opportunity, as a moment of weakness,” he added.
“We know Biden didn’t have the right to have some of the documents — from when he was in the Senate, for God’s sake,” Jackson thundered. “If he had documents from when he was in the Senate, he stole them from a [Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility].
“He snuck them out of a SCIF!”