Biden legal team blasts special counsel’s ‘inappropriate’ report ‘trashing’ president

President Biden’s legal team blasted parts of a report by special counsel Robert Hur on Thursday, accusing him of “investigative excess” that resulted in “‘trashing’ the subject of an investigation.”

Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal counsel, said in a statement shortly after the report’s release that the public findings violate “well-established Department norms” and that it was “essentially, ‘trashing’ the subject of an investigation.” 

“The Department of Justice Inspector General observed only a few years ago that high-profile investigations, such as those of a president, may be ‘subject to scrutiny not typical of the average criminal case, but that does not provide a basis for violating well-established Department norms, and, essentially, “trashing” the subject of an investigation’ with extraneous, unfounded and irrelevant critical commentary,’” Bauer’s statement read.

“[T]he Special Counsel could not refrain from investigative excess, perhaps unsurprising given the intense pressures of the current political environment.  Whatever the impact of those pressures on the final Report, it flouts Department regulations and norms,” Bauer said.

The White House also pushed back, calling parts of the report “inaccurate and inappropriate.”

“We disagree with a number of inaccurate and inappropriate comments in the Special Counsel’s report. Nonetheless, the most important decision the Special Counsel made—that no charges are warranted—is firmly based on the facts and evidence,” Richard Sauber, White House special counsel, said in a statement.

Neither statement detailed which aspects of the report they deemed inappropriate, but part of the report describing Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and conveying that Biden’s memory had “significant limitations” has raised eyebrows.

The report describes Biden forgetting when he was vice president and the year that his son, Beau Biden, had died. It also said Biden’s “memory appeared hazy” when he talked about Afghanistan.

Biden sat for an interview with Hur in October, and it was conducted over two days. The White House declined to assert privilege over any portion of the report.

In a statement, Biden said he was interviewed Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, just after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, when he was in the “middle of handling an international crisis.”

“This was an exhaustive investigation going back more than 40 years, even into the 1970s when I was a young Senator. I cooperated completely, threw up no roadblocks, and sought no delays,” Biden said in his statement.

Despite the criticism, Sauber also said the White House is “pleased” the investigation concluded and found no criminal charges were warranted. He noted that “mistakes when packing documents at the end of an Administration or when Members of Congress leave office are unfortunately a common occurrence.”

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