“Memory problems” save Biden from prosecution for possessing secret documents, but the president himself is not happy about that

“Memory problems” save Biden from prosecution for possessing secret documents, but the president himself is not happy about that

President Biden at the beginning of the press conference.ANP/EPA photo

The secret documents were found in late 2022 in Biden's office at the Penn Biden Center, a research center affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Secret documents were later discovered during a search of his home in Wilmington, Delaware. The documents relate, among other things, to the US military and foreign policy in Afghanistan.

Biden was forced to hand over the papers after assuming the position of Vice President under President Obama (2009-2017), but he was still keeping them at home, according to Robert Hoare. However, the special counsel decided not to prosecute Biden because a conviction would be a complex case: “The jury will likely view Mr. Biden as a sympathetic, older man with good intentions and a poor memory.”

Finished by the author
Marti Giles is a general correspondent for De Volkskrant.

In his 345-page report, Hoare harshly judged the memory of Biden, the oldest president America has ever known. For example, Hoare stated that Biden cannot remember exactly when he was vice president or when his son Beau died. The special prosecutor, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, reached these conclusions based on hours of questioning.

Biden stated, among other things, that he could not remember certain things clearly because at the time of the interrogations he was “in the middle of addressing an international crisis,” referring to the attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7, 2023, one day before Biden sat at the table. , sat down with Hoare and his team. The president, who appeared upset, defended himself, saying: “There is nothing wrong with my memory.”

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Republicans are on the attack

This report impresses Republicans, who have been attacking Biden for some time because of his memory problems. In the wake of the report, conservative House Speaker Mike Johnson criticized the president, saying: “A man who cannot be held accountable for the mishandling of classified documents is far from a good fit for the White House.”

The Republicans' position was strengthened during the press conference when Biden mixed Egypt and Mexico, in reference to Egyptian President Sisi. A day earlier, Trump had confounded German Chancellors Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel, and last week Biden committed the same kind of confusion. The US President then referred to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, by the name of former President François Mitterrand, who died in 1996.

Biden himself was very frank during the press conference. 'I am good and I am old. But I know very well what I'm doing. “You helped this country get back on its feet,” he said.

Compare with Trump

The investigation into Biden, who once again announced his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections on behalf of the Democrats, brings to mind the investigation into his predecessor, former President Trump. In the report, Hoare found that the cases are far from comparable.

The 77-year-old Trump, who is competing for the Republican Party nomination, is being tried due to the presence of secret documents in his possession. POLITICO In Trump's case, he writes, it involved nearly three hundred items; With Biden there were twenty. The special counsel noted that Trump also refused to turn over documents to the National Archives, unlike Biden.

In addition, Trump ordered the destruction of some documents by which he obstructed justice, the report said. Biden, in turn, turned the papers over to the Department of Defense and the National Archives at their request and cooperated with the Justice Department’s investigation.

Trump does not agree with these conclusions. He spoke of a “multi-level judicial system” and “selective prosecution.” In the report, Hoare denies any bias in favor of Biden, who likely would not be impeached as a sitting president anyway. There were no grounds for prosecution, because, according to the special prosecutor, the president did not intend to take the documents and did not commit a crime.

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