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.
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.”
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.
Biden later spoke to a previously scheduled stop at the House Democrats’ retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, where he also highlighted that the interviews took place right after Oct. 7.
He also highlighted the difference between his case and that of former President Trump, who was indicted for the potential mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.
“I was especially pleased to see the special counsel make clear the stark differences between this case and Donald Trump,” Biden said, adding of Hur: “This is a Republican counsel.”
Hur is a former U.S. attorney for Maryland who was appointed by Trump during his first-term in 2018.
Biden read from the part of the report that outlines, “several material distinctions between Mr. Trump’s case and Mr. Biden’s.”
“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite,” the report said.