Former Special Counsel Hur repeatedly corrects false Dem claims that his report 'exonerated' Biden

 March 13, 2024

Former Special Counsel Robert Hur testified before Congress on Tuesday about his report on President Joe Biden's mishandling of classified documents following his time as vice president and pushed back against claims that he had "exonerated" Biden of any alleged wrongdoing, Breitbart reported.

On multiple occasions, Hur felt compelled to correct Democratic members who parroted the false narrative of exoneration, pushed by the White House and amplified by the media, that was based on the fact that Hur had declined to pursue criminal charges against the sitting president.

Yet, as Hur reminded lawmakers, he did find evidence that Biden "willfully retained" classified documents he was not authorized to keep but determined that the evidence, paired with likely defense arguments centered on Biden's age and diminished memory, would likely prove insufficient to convince a jury to convict.

"I did not exonerate him"

Breitbart reported that at one point during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on former Special Counsel Hur's report, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) asserted that Hur's "lengthy, expensive, and indecent investigation resulted in a complete exoneration of President Joe Biden," given that Hur found "insufficient evidence the president violated any laws about possession or retention of classified materials."

Hur replied, "I need to go back and make sure that I take note of the word that you used -- exoneration. That is not a word we used in the report and that is not part of my task as a prosecutor."

Jayapal interrupted Hur and insisted again, "You exonerated him," but Hur pushed back once more and stated, "I did not exonerate him. That word does not appear in the report," only for the congresswoman to silence him by reclaiming the balance of her time.

Dems repeatedly push false exoneration narrative

It wasn't just Rep. Jayapal who attempted to push the false narrative of exoneration during the hearing, as Fox News reported that other Democratic members of the panel also tried to do the same thing but were similarly countered by the federal prosecutor's reiteration that his report had not exonerated President Biden of all alleged wrongdoing.

"President Biden acted responsibly, cooperated completely, and the decision to … decline criminal charges was relatively straightforward," ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler, (D-NY) said. "The report represents the complete and total exoneration of President Biden."

Likewise, Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD) inaccurately claimed, "The special counsel exonerates President Biden."

In both instances, Hur offered up some variation of "that is not what the report says," then later replied affirmatively that Democratic members were incorrect to make such claims. "The word exoneration does not appear anywhere in my report, and that is not my conclusion," Hur declared at one point and added at another that his report was "not an exhaustive exoneration" of the president.

Hur defends and explains his decision to not pursue charges

"My team and I conducted a thorough, independent investigation. We identified evidence that the President willfully retained classified materials after the end of his vice presidency, when he was a private citizen," former Special Counsel Hur said in his opening statement in defense of his report. "This evidence included an audio-recorded conversation during which Mr. Biden told his ghostwriter that he had 'just found all the classified stuff downstairs.'"

"We did not, however, identify evidence that rose to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," he explained. "Because the evidence fell short of that standard, I declined to recommend criminal charges against Mr. Biden."

"My task was to determine whether the President retained or disclosed national defense information 'willfully' -- meaning, knowingly and with the intent to do something the law forbids. I could not make that determination without assessing the President’s state of mind," Hur stated in regard to complaints about the "language" used in the report. "For that reason, I had to consider the President’s memory and overall mental state, and how a jury likely would perceive his memory and mental state in a criminal trial. These are the types of issues prosecutors analyze every day. And because these issues were important to my ultimate decision, I had to include a discussion of them in my report to the Attorney General."

"My assessment in the report about the relevance of the President’s memory was necessary and accurate and fair. Most importantly, what I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows, and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe," he added. "I did not sanitize my explanation. Nor did I disparage the President unfairly. I explained to the Attorney General my decision and the reasons for it. That’s what I was required to do."

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