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Special Counsel Finds President Biden Retained Classified Materials, Will Not Face Charges

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Special Counsel Finds President Biden Retained Classified Materials, Will Not Face Charges

A special counsel investigation has found that US President Joe Biden retained and disclosed classified materials, but he will not be charged. The report reveals that Mr. Biden shared sensitive material with a ghostwriter for his memoir, although the difficulty in convicting the president due to his portrayal as an elderly man with a poor memory played a factor in this decision. The classified files, pertaining to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, were discovered at Mr. Biden’s residence and former private office.

The justice department’s special counsel, Robert Hur, states in the report that the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He adds that prosecution is unwarranted based on the consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors. The report, spanning 345 pages, was released publicly after the White House decided not to request any redactions.

During the investigation, 173 interviews with 147 witnesses were conducted, including President Biden himself. The special counsel’s report notes that it would be challenging to convict the president of mishandling files due to his portrayal as an elderly man with a poor memory. Mr. Hur highlights Mr. Biden’s significant limitations in memory, including his inability to recall key events during his vice presidency and the death of his son, Beau.

In response to the decision not to charge him, President Biden expressed his satisfaction at a Democratic retreat in Virginia, stating that “this matter is now closed.” He asserts that he fully cooperated with investigators and accuses Donald Trump of obstructing the inquiry into his own alleged mishandling of secret records, as Trump faces a criminal trial in the near future.

The report also discloses that Mr. Biden shared classified material from his hand-written notebooks with the ghostwriter for his 2018 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad.” The ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, deleted audio recordings of their discussions upon learning of the special counsel’s investigation. Prosecutors considered charges against Zwonitzer but concluded that deleting the tape was his standard practice with clients.

The Hur report suggests that Mr. Biden had a motive to retain some of the classified files, as he wanted to challenge the approach taken by President Barack Obama in Afghanistan. The investigation was led by Robert Hur, a Trump nominee appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland in early 2023. This inquiry began after a separate investigation was launched into undisclosed documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

The trial for Donald Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and claimed the right to retain the records, is scheduled for May in Miami. In Mr. Biden’s case, the first batch of classified documents was discovered in November 2022, followed by a second cache found in December of that year, and another document found in January 2023. The president’s team turned them over to the National Archives and the Department of Justice upon their discovery.

Rachel Adams

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