Special Counsel Robert Hur testifies at House hearing today on Biden documents probe

Washington DC Capitol dome detail with waving american flag

Former special counsel Robert Hur, who led the yearlong probe into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, testified Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers in both parties have heavily criticized Hur’s report that ultimately vindicated the president, but included some highly critical conclusions. Hur was previously nominated by then-President Donald Trump as U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, and was appointed special counsel in the case by Attorney General Merrick Garland. His employment with the Justice Department has ended since the report has been filed.

Hur fielded questions from both Democrats and Republicans at the hearing who took issue with the report, accusing him of acting in a partisan manner.  Republicans argued the decision not to recommend charges against Mr. Biden was evidence of a two-tiered justice system, while Democrats countered that Republicans ignored the severity of the allegations against Trump and accused Hur of including gratuitous criticism of the president in his report.

In his 388-page report published last month, Hur said that he found no criminal charges were warranted in the Biden probe, but noted the inquiry uncovered evidence “that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency.” Hur ultimately concluded that the evidence did not establish the facts beyond a reasonable doubt. The report also included damaging assertions about the 81-year-old president’s memory during the five-hour conversation between the two. The White House has vehemently refuted accusations that Biden has memory issues.

Hur defended the investigation and report and highlighted the probe’s finding that Mr. Biden “willfully retained” classified materials, while noting that the investigation did not find evidence that “rose to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” The former special counsel said that he needed to include characterizations of the president’s memory in order to explain why he did not bring charges against Mr. Biden: “I understood that my explanation about this case had to include rigorous, detailed and thorough analysis,” Hur said in his opening remarks. “In other words, I needed to show my work, just as I would expect any prosecutor to show his or her work in explaining the decision to prosecute or not.” Hur said his assessment of how relevant Mr. Biden’s memory was in the report was “necessary and accurate and fair .. 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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