President Biden won’t face charges over his retention of classified documents between his terms as vice president and president, but this is not at all good news for the president.
The reason: the special counsel who led the investigation into the documents case, Robert Hur, who was appointed last year by Attorney General Merrick Garland, said if the president were charged, he could come off as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
So now, the one side has a guy as its top candidate a guy facing 91 criminal charges and hundreds of millions of dollars in civil penalties for defamation and criminal business practices, and the other has an incumbent who three years before he was elected couldn’t remember when he was vice president.
That nugget came from a recorded 2017 conversation with Mark Zwonitzer – who helped Biden write two memoirs – that was cited in the 345-page special counsel report.
“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.
“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse. He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (“if it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?”), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (“in 2009, am I still Vice President?”). He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he “had a real difference” of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”
Hur, in his report, wrote of Biden that “(b)ased on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him by then a former president well into his eighties of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.