WASHINGTON — Former special counsel Robert Hur told lawmakers Tuesday that his report on President Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified documents “did not exonerate” Biden of wrongdoing and that the commander-in-chief and his defenders were misleading the public about key details in the case.

“I did not exonerate him and that word does not appear in the report,” Hur corrected Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) during a five-hour-long House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Jayapal, the influential chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, spoke over Hur as he corrected her before she cut him off by saying, “Mr. Hur, it’s my time. Thank you.”

Hur testified that Biden lied at least twice to the public; once when claiming he had not shared classified information with a ghostwriter and again when the president alleged that he had locked up the documents in question — and Hur also revealed that the White House counsel’s office had sought to purge his report of negative assessments of Biden’s mental fitness.

Hur wrote in his bombshell report, released Feb. 8, that he had uncovered evidence that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” but found that the 81-year-old should not face charges for hoarding the nation’s secrets over a span of decades on the grounds that jurors would likely see him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

The ex-special counsel further stated that Biden made a number of false statements about the investigation at a bellicose Feb. 8 White House press conference following the release of the report, during which Biden, who is seeking a second term in the November election, insisted: “I know what the hell I’m doing.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) read from a transcript of the presser, when Biden defended his mental acuity and his stashing of documents at his homes and at an unlocked DC office provided by the University of Pennsylvania.

“Question: ‘Mr. President, why did you share classified information with your ghostwriter?’” Gaetz narrated.

“The president: ‘I did not share classified information. I did not share it. I guarantee I did not.’ That’s not true, is it, Mr. Hur?” Gaetz asked

“That is inconsistent with the findings based on the evidence in my report,” said Hur.

“So it is a lie — just what regular people would say, right?” Gaetz said.

“Yeah,” Hur said with a chuckle.

Gaetz read another of Biden’s claims that “all of the stuff that was in my home was in filing cabinets that were locked or able to be locked” — with the congressman adding, “That wasn’t true either, was it?”

“That was inconsistent with the findings of our investigation,” Hur said again.

“Another lie, people might say, right?” Gaetz went on. “Because what you put in your report was, ‘among the places Mr. Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in the garage was a damaged open box.’”

Shortly before the hearing, the Justice Department released transcripts of Biden’s two interviews with Hur and his team on Oct. 8-9, 2023, which confirmed the special counsel’s account of Biden presenting himself as confused on multiple points

The transcripts revealed that Biden said his son Beau, who died in 2015, was “deployed or is dying” after he left office in 2017.

Biden mangled other facts, too, saying at one point: “If it was 2013 — when did I stop being vice president?” — he left office as vice president in 2017 — as well as: “In 2009, am I still vice president?”

Some Republicans suggested that Biden may have feigned senility to avoid accountability — with Gaetz outlining his theory that Biden ducked charges by exercising a “senile co-operator” strategy, unlike 77-year-old former President Donald Trump, who faces up to 450 years in prison for allegedly mishandling records.

“He just blatantly lies, and what I’m trying to figure out is whether or not Biden’s lying because he’s still so senile he hasn’t read your report, or whether it’s a little craftier and a little more devious and perhaps a little more intentional,” Gaetz said.

Democrats defended Biden by pointing out that Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee against Biden, is also accused of deliberately hindering National Archives attempts to retrieve classified documents — while playing clips of the 45th president also publicly misstating facts.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) exclaimed at one point that speculation about Biden’s cognition was “disrespectful of senior people with any kind of memory disability.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) charged that Hur had “used [his] report to trash and smear President Biden,” insinuating it was because the special prosecutor, a registered Republican, had his eye on a federal judgeship or Justice Department post in a new Trump administration.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) accused Republicans of being “amateur memory specialists, giving us their drive-by diagnoses of the president of the United States whose soaring oratory, powerful historical analysis, and devastating extemporaneous repartee with even the most skilled ninja hecklers of the Freedom Caucus were on full display at the State of Union address last week.”

Hur testified that although Biden acknowledged to ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer after leaving office in 2017 that “I just found all of the classified stuff downstairs” at Biden’s post-vice presidential home in northern Virginia, it was Hur’s judgment that a jury would not convict Biden — though the ex-Maryland US attorney did agree with a suggestion by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) that a “rational juror” may have backed a guilty verdict.

Hur’s findings upset both Republicans — who allege a double standard with the Trump case and noted that Zwonitzer deleted audio files of Biden after the investigation began — and Democrats, who felt the cognitive assessments harm Biden’s re-election chances..

“The evidence and the president himself put his memory squarely at issue. We interviewed the president and asked him about his recorded statement, ‘Well, I just found all the classified stuff downstairs’ and he told us that he didn’t remember saying that to his ghostwriter,” Hur said.

“He also said he didn’t remember finding any classified material in his home after his vice presidency. And he didn’t remember anything about how classified documents about Afghanistan made their way into his garage.

“My assessment and the report about the relevance of the president’s memory was necessary and accurate and fair.”

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