OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
President Joe Biden has been taking heat from all sides after the release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on his handling of classified documents, including criticism from some prominent Democrats.
Among them was Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, who criticized the way the president handled the press conference the night the report was released, which included snapping and yelling at reporters.
“Clearly, yesterday’s press conference, as you said, I’m a senior Democratic politician. I’ve been doing this for a long time. That’s not the way you want to do it. Okay?” he told CNN. “I think we can all agree on that. He was angry. He was frustrated by what came out. There was not a prepared, clear agenda of, okay, here’s my explanation, here’s what I’m doing. And it didn’t go well, okay? There’s no doubt about that. That needs to get better.
“But again, the most important thing is is he on top of the economy? I mean, look, look at how we have managed to. Everyone said we were going to be in a recession. We’re not now. There is still an affordability crisis. We got to make housing affordable. We got to make food more affordable,” the representative added.
“But he has negotiated a very difficult situation coming out of the pandemic, dealing with a series of international crises in a way that has been very coherent and has moved the policy forward. There’s no doubt in my mind right now that he’s capable of doing the job. Messaging. Very complicated if you’ve never run for office. All right. I like to think of myself as a reasonably articulate person. All right. And I’ve done this a long time. I’ve been in press conferences. I’ve been in town hall meetings where I wish, you good. I shouldn’t have said that. And then you try to fix it, and then you make it worse. Okay? It is not as easy as it looks,” he added.
The reason the president was furious was likely because the Special Counsel’s report painted him as an old man with memory issues who willfully retained and shared classified information.
Following a months-long investigation into the president’s alleged improper retention of classified records, Hur’s report stated that he would not recommend filing criminal charges against Biden for mishandling classified documents.
Since last year, Hur has been looking into Biden’s improper retention of classified records. Hur claimed that among the other records about foreign policy and national security, there were classified documents concerning the military and foreign policy in Afghanistan that involved “sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”
“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” the report states. “We would reach the same conclusion even if the Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”
The special counsel also described Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” as Fox News noted.
“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote in the report. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone from whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him—by then a former president well into his eighties—of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
But Hur said his investigation “uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”
The materials included “marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, and notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”