Special Counsel Robert Hur has released a comprehensive report on the classified documents that President Joe Biden kept after leaving office. The nearly 400-page report provides new insights into why politicians often end up with sensitive information once they leave their positions. It also sheds light on Biden’s practice of sharing private information with a ghostwriter, a common trend among high-profile individuals who want to publish books without actually writing them.
The report, consisting of an executive summary, 17 chapters, a conclusion, and three appendices, spans a total of 388 pages. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur as the special counsel in January 2023. It is important to note that Hur had previously led the prosecutor’s office in Maryland under Trump’s administration. In 2021, he joined the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm.
While Hur did not recommend criminal charges against Biden, the report includes significant details regarding Biden’s memory. During the special counsel’s interview with Biden, it was revealed that the former vice president had difficulty recalling important events and dates. Biden’s memory lapses include not remembering when he was vice president, the timing of his son Beau’s death, and details of the Afghanistan debate that held great significance to him.
Biden strongly objected to the report’s characterization of his memory during a recent press conference. His personal counsel, Richard Sauber and Bob Bauer, also disputed these claims in a letter to the special counsel. They argued that Biden’s inability to recall events that occurred years ago is not surprising or unusual, especially considering the nature of the questions asked.
The report also highlights the precedent set by former President Ronald Reagan, who retained classified diaries after leaving office. The Department of Justice did not investigate Reagan for mishandling classified information or attempt to retrieve the diaries. Many former presidents and vice presidents have similarly taken sensitive materials home without facing criminal charges.
Another significant finding of the report is Biden’s use of a ghostwriter. The report states that Biden shared obviously sensitive information with his ghostwriter and occasionally read classified entries aloud to him. This practice poses a risk to national security, but the report concludes that criminal charges are not the appropriate remedy.
The report also touches on the deletion of recordings by the ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, after learning of the special counsel’s appointment. However, the FBI was able to recover most of the deleted audio files, and the ghostwriter willingly cooperated with investigators.
Appendix A of the report provides a detailed list of documents found in Biden’s office and home, including their classification levels. Notably, documents related to Afghanistan were discovered in Biden’s Delaware home, stored in a damaged box in the garage alongside various items.
In summary, the Hur report offers new insights into the practices surrounding classified documents retained by politicians after leaving office. It emphasizes Biden’s memory lapses, the precedent set by previous administrations, his use of a ghostwriter, and the discovery of documents in his possession.