by Casey Harper
A visibly upset President Joe Biden addressed the nation late Thursday to respond to news that the special counsel tasked with investigating his handling of classified documents had chosen not to charge him, but also detailed numerous examples of his memory loss.
The blockbuster special counsel report, while clearing Biden, sparked questions about Biden’s mental fitness when it called him an “elderly man with a poor memory.” Biden is 81 years old.
“My memory is fine,” Biden fired back before getting hostile with reporters who asked about his mental fitness to serve as president.
The special counsel’s report detailed numerous examples of Biden’s trouble remembering key events in his life.
“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” according to the report. “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?’)”
Biden served as vice president under then-President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report continued. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Eiden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”
On the information in the report about his son’s death, Biden angrily responded.
“How in the hell dare he raise that,” Biden said. “Frankly, when I was asked the question I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business. Let me tell you something. I don’t need anyone to remind me when he passed away.” Biden said he was managing the Israel-Hamas crisis while dealing with the special counsel’s interview.
Reporters immediately questioned Biden about his memory Thursday evening after his remarks.
“My memory is fine,” Biden responded, before pointing to his accomplishments since taking office.
Notably, while answering a question from a reporter about the Israel-Gaza conflict, Biden appeared to call Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the president of Mexico.
Biden’s political opponents online immediately responded to that blunder in what is the first of likely months of ongoing attacks on his mental fitness as he runs for a second term against his likely Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, whom he defeated in 2020.
“Joe Biden is unfit for the office of the presidency,” U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, late Thursday. “President el Sisi is the President of Egypt not Mexico.”
When asked why he should be the Democrat to take on Trump, Biden said he is the most qualified.
Biden also addressed the report clearing him of charges in the classified documents investigation.
“The special counsel released his findings today about their look into my handling of classified documents,” Biden said. “I was pleased to see he reached the firm conclusion that no charges should be brought against me in this case. This was an exhaustive investigation going back more than 40 years, even into the 1970’s when I was still a United States Senator.”
During the remarks, Biden blamed his staff for the handling of classified documents and attempted to dispel questions about his memory.
As The Center Square previously reported, Special Counsel Robert Hur said Thursday that he found evidence that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen” but said the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The nearly 400-page report said Biden did not commit a crime but that he was careless with the documents.
“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” the report said. “We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”
Trump faces charges for the same allegations of mishandling classified documents, one of his multiple indictments across several states. Former Vice President Mike Pence was also not charged though he did hold on to classified documents and then return them after leaving office.
Trump told Fox News Digital Thursday that the charges against him should now be dropped.
“They should immediately drop the case against me,” Trump told the outlet. “I am covered by the Presidential Records Act – he wasn’t. He had many, many times more documents – totally unguarded. Mine were always surrounded by Secret Service and in locked rooms.”
Biden came under investigation for the same allegations as Trump after federal authorities found classified documents stored at his home in Delaware as well as one of his offices in Washington, D.C.
“I was especially pleased the Special Counsel make clear the stark distinction and difference between this case and Mr. Trump’s case,” Biden continued.
Biden argued he more readily handed over any documents and cooperated with federal authorities while Trump did not. Biden said he cooperated completely with the investigation and gave a five-hour interview in person with the special counsel.
Biden also argued the headlines about his willful retention of documents are misleading.
“The bottom line is the matter is now closed,” Biden said.
“I did not break the law,” Biden said to reporters. “Period.”
The DOJ report lays out Biden’s mishandling of classified documents but said ultimately mitigating factors prevented a formal legal charge.
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” Hur said. “These materials included (1) marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, and (2) notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods. FBI agents recovered these materials from the garage, offices, and basement den in Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home.”
One of those mitigating factors, according to the special counsel report, was that jurors would be sympathetic to Biden’s poor memory.
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Casey Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau of The Center Square. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Casey’s work has also appeared in Fox News, Fox Business, and USA Today.
Photo “Joe Biden” by President Joe Biden.