Special counsel Robert Hur, appointed to investigate President Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents, declined to prosecute Biden in part because of Biden’s failing memory.
In other words, he basically found that Biden was too out of it to hold responsible, even though he “willfully retained and disclosed” classified materials. And that’s just for starters.
Here are 21 shocking findings in Hur’s report, which was issued on Feb. 8.
1. Biden “willfully retained and disclosed” classified materials when he was a private citizen.
The special counsel found that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”
They included classified documents “about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan” and notebooks “containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”
2. Biden shared classified information with an author, Mark Zwonitzer.
Biden “shared information, including some classified information, from those notebooks with his ghostwriter.”
“At least three times Mr. Biden read from classified entries aloud to his ghostwriter nearly verbatim.”
“Mr. Biden read his notes from classified meetings to Zwonitzer nearly word-for-word.”
Biden to his ghostwriter: “Some of this may be classified, so be careful.”
3. Biden isn’t being prosecuted because he might have forgotten he had classified documents relating to Afghanistan.
Charges were not brought because “Mr. Biden could have found the classified Afghanistan documents at his Virginia home in 2017 and then forgotten about them soon after.”
4. Biden is so out of it that a jury would probably think he made a mistake by retaining classified materials in his garage.
“Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023.” This, the special counsel found, “will likely convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake, rather than acting willfully-that is, with intent to break the law-as the statute requires.”
5. Biden’s “precision and recall” are “limited.”
Biden had “limited precision and recall during his interviews with his ghostwriter and with our office.”
6. Jurors might be sympathetic to Biden because he might present as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
7. Biden said classified documents were his “property” and all presidents did it.
“Biden was emphatic, declaring that his notebooks are ‘my property’ and that ‘every president before me has done the exact same thing,’ that is, kept handwritten classified
materials after leaving office.”
Historically, after leaving office, many former presidents and vice presidents have knowingly taken home sensitive materials related to national security from their administrations without being charged with crimes.
8. Note: Only Trump is being prosecuted.
“With one exception, there is no record of the Department of Justice prosecuting a former president or vice president for mishandling classified documents from his own administration. The exception is former President Trump.”
9. Biden’s ghostwriter deleted audio recordings after learning of the special counsel’s investigation.
“After learning of the special counsel’s appointment in this matter, Mr. Biden’s ghostwriter deleted audio recordings he had created of his discussions with Mr. Biden during the writing of Mr. Biden’s 2017 memoir. The recordings had significant evidentiary value.”
10. Biden failed to return classified briefing books.
“in August 2010, when Mr. Biden failed to return Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information (also referred to as ‘codeword’) contents of a classified briefing book that he had received during a trip to the Hamptons, in New York. We were unable to determine whether these materials were ever recovered, although they were likely found and disposed of by military aides or naval enlisted aides.”
11. Biden refused to answer some questions posed by the special counsel.
Biden “declined to answer several questions about whether he believed his notes contained classified information; whether he believed he was authorized to possess classified information after his vice presidency and whether he took steps to avoid writing classified
information in his notebooks.”_
12. Classified documents were found in a damaged, opened box in Biden’s garage near a collapsed dog crate, broken lamp, and potting soil.
“Among the places Mr. Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in the garage was a damaged, opened box containing numerous hanging folders, file folders, and binders.”
“We also expect many jurors to be struck by the place where the Afghanistan documents were ultimately found in Mr. Biden’s Delaware home: in a badly damaged box in the garage, near a collapsed dog crate, a dog bed, a Zappos box, an empty bucket, a broken lamp wrapped with duct tape, potting soil, and synthetic firewood.”
13. Biden can’t spell Afghanistan.
In his interview with the special counsel, Mr. Biden said the handwritten label on this folder looks like his handwriting, and the distinctive misspelling of ‘Afganastan’ confirms this. Mr. Biden repeatedly used this or a similar misspelling in handwritten notes as vice president, and before that in notes he took as a senator dating back to 1980.
14. Biden admitted finding classified documents in his Virginia home at a time he was not legally allowed to have them there.
“The Virginia home was not authorized to store classified information in February 2017, when Mr. Biden told Zwonitzer he had ‘just found all the classified stuff downstairs.'”
15. Ronald Reagan kept diaries with classified information at his private home after leaving office, which was widely known.
16. Biden’s memory issues date to at least 2017.
Mr. Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations-both at the time he spoke to Zwonitzer in 2017, as evidenced by their recorded conversations, and today, as evidenced by his recorded interview with our office. 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.
17. Biden didn’t remember when he was vice president or when his son died, and his memory about Afghanistan was “hazy.”
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.
18. The Special Counsel found that one of Biden’s explanations was not credible and amounted to him trying to argue that “classified does not mean classified.”
According to Mr. Biden, ‘I may have used the word ‘classified’ with Mr. Zwonitzer in a generic sense, to refer not to the formal classification of national security information, but to sensitive or private topics to ensure that Mr. Zwonitzer would not write about
Mr. Biden qualified this answer by explaining, ‘I do not recall the specific conversations you reference with Mr. Zwonitzer, which took place more than six years ago.’
This explanation-that ‘classified’ does not mean ‘classified’-is not credible.
19. There is evidence Biden knew what he was doing was wrong.
“There is also evidence that Mr. Biden knew he could not keep classified handwritten notes unsecured at home after his time as vice president.”
“He had nearly fifty years of experience with classified information.”
20. Biden shared information about “human intelligence sources” with the ghostwriter.
“He did share classified information with Zwonitzer by reading from classified notebook entries to Zwonitzer nearly verbatim. These entries included entries concerning human intelligence sources, as well as entries that Mr. Biden had previously identified as classified or potentially classified.”
21. Some portions of the ghostwriter’s deleted, but recovered, audio interviews with Biden are still missing.
“For three of the recovered files, portions of the audio appeared to be missing, and a fourth file appeared to have portions overwritten with a separate recording.”
“Investigators asked Zwonitzer if he had deleted the recordings because of the special counsel’s investigation. Zwonitzer replied that he ‘was aware that there was an investigation’ when he deleted the recordings and continued, “I’m not going to say how much of the percentage it was of my motivation.”