Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday defended himself from criticism – much of it coming from the White House – regarding the mentions of President Biden’s faulty memory included in special counsel Robert Hur’s report. 

Garland, 71, argued that it would’ve been “absurd” to remove Hur’s assessment of the 81-year-old president’s mental fitness from the Justice Department’s findings in the Biden classified documents probe. 

“The idea that an attorney general would edit or redact or censor the special counsel’s explanation for why the special counsel reached the decision that the special counsel did – that’s absurd,” Garland said during a DOJ press conference, in response to reporter’s question about whether the language Hur used to characterize Biden’s mental state was “appropriate.” 

Last month, days before the special counsel report was made public, White House Counsel Ed Siskel and Biden’s personal lawyer Bob Bauer wrote to Garland, objecting “to the multiple denigrating statements about President Biden’s memory” included in Hur’s findings, arguing that the comments “violate longstanding DOJ practice and policy,” according to Politico. 

In another letter sent to Garland, White House counsel Richard Sauber and Bauer noted their “objections to Special Counsel Hur’s inclusion of these unnecessary and unwarranted comments in the strongest possible terms,” according to the outlet. 

Hur confirmed during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month that he was asked by Sauber and Bauer to “revise” descriptions of Biden’s memory lapses before the release of his report defending the decision to not bring charges against the commander-in-chief for retention of national security material.

“They did request certain edits and changes to the draft report,” Hur told lawmakers. 

Biden has reportedly vented to aides and advisers that Garland didn’t do enough to curb politically damaging portions of the special counsel report referencing his diminished mental faculties. 

Anonymous Biden advisers have also argued that Garland himself should have personally demanded edits to Hur’s report, according to Politico. 

Garland on Thursday denied that anyone from the White House has suggested to him that he should’ve redacted portions of the special counsel’s report.

“I haven’t, no one from the White House has said that to me,” he told reporters.

“When the president announced my nomination, he said, to me directly and then to the American public that he intended to restore the independence and the integrity of the Justice Department,” Garland added. “And that he wanted me to serve as the lawyer for the American people, not the lawyer for the president.”

“I sincerely believe that that’s what he intended then, and I sincerely believe that that’s what he intends now.”

Hur did not recommend charges against Biden because he believed a jury would see him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

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