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Business News/ News / World/  ‘My memory is fine’: Biden responds after report questions his ability to recall key dates
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‘My memory is fine’: Biden responds after report questions his ability to recall key dates

President Biden refutes allegations of retaining classified documents and disputes the special counsel's claims regarding his memory.

US President Joe Biden speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House (AP)Premium
US President Joe Biden speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House (AP)

US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that some assertions by the special counsel about his memory are wrong, and denied that he willfully retained any classified documents.

Biden launched an emotional response to the report questioning his memory, asking how the prosecutor dared say he could not recall the date of his son's death.

"There's even a reference that I don't remember when my son died. How in the hell dare he raise that?" Biden told reporters at the White House, adding that "my memory is fine."

A report from Special Counsel Robert Hur has raised severe questions about the 81-year-old US President's health as it pointed mishandling of sensitive government records by the US President.

The report described Biden as “hazy," “fuzzy," “faulty," “poor" and having “significant limitations." It noted that Biden could not recall defining milestones in his own life.

"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?')," the report said. “He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died".

While Biden will not face charges for mishandling classified documents, the report's assertions about his memory could undermine Biden's message to voters that he can manage the government and safeguard the country.

Biden's lawyers blasted the report for what they said were inaccuracies and gratuitous swipes at the president. In a statement, Biden said he was “pleased" Hur had “concluded I believed all along they would reach — that there would be no charges brought in this case and the matter is now closed."

Hur, a former U.S. Attorney in the Trump administration, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland as special counsel in January 2023 following an initial discovery by Biden staff of classified records in Washington office space. Subsequent property searches by the FBI, all coordinated voluntarily by Biden's staff, that turned up additional sensitive documents from his time as vice president and senator.

Investigators did find evidence of willful retention and disclosure of a subset of records found in Biden's Wilmington, Delaware house, including in a garage, office, and basement den. The files pertain to a troop surge in Afghanistan during the Obama administration that Biden had vigorously opposed. He kept records that documented his position, including a classified letter to Obama during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday.

Documents found in a box in Biden's Delaware garage have classification markings up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Level and “other materials of great significance to him and that he appears to have personally used and accessed." Hur, though, wrote that there was a "shortage of evidence" to prove that Biden placed the documents in the box and knew they were there.

Some of the classified information related to Afghanistan was shared with a ghostwriter with whom he published memoirs in 2007 and 2017. As part of the probe, investigators reviewed a recording of a February 2017 conversation between Biden and his ghostwriter in which Biden can be heard saying that he had “just found all the classified stuff downstairs."

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Published: 09 Feb 2024, 06:54 AM IST
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