White House Pushed to Soften Robert Hur’s Report on Biden’s ‘Poor Memory’
White House Pushed to Soften Robert Hur’s Report on Biden’s ‘Poor Memory’

By Tom Ozimek

The White House pressured special counsel Robert Hur to soften his report’s characterizations of President Joe Biden’s ailing memory, according to March 12 testimony on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Hur testified on March 12 before the House Judiciary Committee, and Republican lawmakers asked the special counsel pointedly whether the White House tried to get him to make changes to his report, which took a dim view of the president’s cognitive ability.

“At trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the special counsel wrote in his 388-page report, which found that President Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” when he was a private citizen after the end of his term as vice president during the Obama administration.

Mr. Hur, who faced criticism from Democrats and the White House for remarking on the president’s cognitive capacity in his report, didn’t recommend charges against President Biden, in part because of his ailing memory.

During the March 12 testimony, Mr. Hur said a draft of his report was provided to the White House for review.

Several Republican lawmakers asked Mr. Hur whether the White House requested any changes to the report—with the special counsel confirming that this was the case.

Republicans and President Trump, who faces multiple charges in connection with his own classified documents probe, have alleged that President Biden is getting a “free pass” thanks to a “two-tiered justice system” that has been weaponized against the former president.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

‘There Was a Request’

During the testimony, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Mr. Hur if the White House tried to “weigh in” and “get the report changed.”

“They did request certain edits and changes to the draft report,” Mr. Hur confirmed.

Later, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) asked the special counsel about a Feb. 5 letter that the White House had sent him several days before his report was made public.

“So is it correct then, that February 5 letter, that was sent to you, asking you to change references to the president’s poor memory? Wasn’t there a request by the White House to do that?” Mr. Tiffany asked.

Mr. Hurr replied, “There was a request, yes.”

Mr. Tiffany then pointed out that, earlier in the hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) claimed that President Biden didn’t “seek to redact a single word of Mr. Hur’s report.”

“Obviously, Mr. Hur is telling us differently, here,” Mr. Tiffany said of the apparent contradiction.

He then asked if it was true that the White House counsel also sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland directly, saying that “he would like to see changes to the references in regards to the president’s memory?”

“White House counsel did send such a letter,” Mr. Hur replied, although he later said that Mr. Garland didn’t interfere in his investigation or report in any way.

Rep. Joe Neguse (R-Colo.) asked Mr. Hur whether Mr. Garland tried to pressure him to reach certain conclusions or otherwise meddle in the probe.

“During your 15-month investigation, did the attorney general attempt to interfere with your investigation?” Mr. Neguse queried.

Mr. Hur responded, “No.”

Mr. Neguse then asked, “Did he impede your investigation anyway?”

Again, Mr. Hur responded, “No.”

Mr. Hur then expanded on Mr. Garland’s interaction with him, saying that the “attorney general did not interfere with my efforts, and I was able to conduct a fair, thorough, and independent investigation.”As Mr. Hur was testifying, President Trump took to social media to say that he’s facing disparate treatment at the hands of law enforcement.

President Trump said in a post on social media that President Biden is getting a “free pass” in his classified documents probe while the former president is getting clobbered—but he’s “still fighting.”

‘I’m Still Fighting’

The former president argued in his post that, unlike his own case, President Biden’s doesn’t fall under the Presidential Records Act, hinting that there are, therefore, more grounds for prosecuting the president for mishandling the documents than in his own case.

President Biden “had many times more documents, including classified documents, than I, or any other president, had. He had them all over the place, with ZERO supervision or security,” President Trump said in the post.

The former president argued that his boxes of classified documents were “secure” while President Biden’s had been “moved all over the place, and heavily used.”

“The DOJ gave Biden, and virtually every other person and President, a free pass. Me, I’m still fighting!” he said.

During the March 12 testimony on Capitol Hill, Republicans argued that the decision to not charge President Biden is proof of a two-tiered justice system.

Democrats, by contrast, came to President Biden’s defense, highlighting his cooperation with Mr. Hur’s probe while seeking to portray Mr. Hur’s remarks about President Biden’s poor memory as irrelevant.

President Biden has said that Mr. Hur’s report vindicates him.

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