Special Counsel Robert Hur has concluded President Joe Biden “willfully” disclosed classified documents as a private citizen.
However, he is not recommending charges against he president.
On Thursday, the recommendations from Hur’s investigation into the president’s handling of classified documents were released to the public.
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” Hur wrote in his report.
While the Associated Press notes Biden could not have been prosecuted as a sitting president, the special counsel insisted, “We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”
The reports caps the end of a roughly one year investigation after documents with classified markings from Biden’s were found in various locations — including the garage of his Delaware home.
“Photographs included in the report showed some of the classified Afghanistan documents stored in a worn cardboard box stored in his garage, apparently in a loose collection with other household items, including a ladder and a wicker basket,” the AP noted.
“As part of the probe, investigators reviewed a recording of a February 2017 conversation between Biden and his ghostwriter in which, referring to [a] 2009 memo to Obama, Biden said that he had ‘just found all the classified stuff downstairs.’ Biden was renting a home in Virginia at the time and consolidated his belongings in Delaware when he moved out in 2019. Prosecutors believe that Biden’s comment was a reference to the same classified records that FBI agents later found in his Delaware home.”
Hur said part of the reason he is not recommending charges is that when Biden was vice president and when the documents were found he “had the authority to keep classified documents at his home.”
He also pointed to the president’s “limited memory.”
“Given Mr. Biden’s limited precision and recall during his interviews with his ghostwriter and with our office, jurors may hesitate to place too much evidentiary weight on a single eight-word utterance to his ghostwriter about finding classified documents in Virginia, in the absence of other, more direct evidence.”
Hur’s report added, “We have also considered that, 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.”
White House spokesman Ian Sams told the AP that Biden chose not to assert executive privilege over part of the report.