Monday, April 15, 2024

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Biden Transcript Exposes Special Counsel Hur’s Bias, Vindicates President’s Mental Acuity

Biden's clear recollection of key facts contradicts Hur's disparaging depiction of the president's memory.

Robert Hur/Joe Biden
Chip Somodevilla/Sophie Park/Getty

The release of the full 258-page transcript from President Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur has punched gaping holes in the narrative pushed by Republicans and Hur himself about the President having a “faulty” or “poor” memory. The transcript paints a portrait starkly at odds with Hur’s disparaging depiction of Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory” who couldn’t recall basic facts like when his son Beau died or the years he served as Vice President.

In reality, the transcript shows Biden repeatedly demonstrating a firm grasp of key dates, details, and the sequence of events around his handling of classified documents. For instance, when asked directly “What month did Beau die?” Biden promptly responds “Oh God, May 30th” before needing slight prompting on the year from investigators. So much for Hur’s false claim that Biden couldn’t remember when his beloved son passed away from cancer.

Likewise, Hur’s assertion that Biden didn’t know the years he was Vice President rings hollow upon reviewing the transcript. At one point, Biden asks investigators “Am I still vice president? I was, wasn’t I? Yeah” when shown a document from 2009, clearly cognizant that he was VP at the time.

The transcript instead reveals a President whose faults lie more in offhand quips and chattiness than any mental deficiencies. Biden repeatedly joked with the investigators in a way that was more friendly than antagonistic. At one point, he joked, “I just hope you didn’t find any risqué pictures of my wife in a bathing suit, which you probably did. She’s beautiful.” His informal banter provides crucial context missing from Hur’s biased summary.

Not only does the transcript debunk Hur’s harsh characterization of Biden’s mindset, but it also reflects poorly on the Special Counsel’s judgment and credibility. During the House Judiciary hearing, Hur denied under oath that he “disparaged the president unfairly,” digging in on his unsupported claim that “the evidence and the president himself put his memory squarely at issue.” But the transcript suggests precisely the opposite – that Hur projected frailties onto Biden not borne out by the actual interview.

Observers from across the political spectrum blasted Hur over the discrepancies. Obama staffer Tommy Vietor accused Hur of an “outrageous lie” while attorney Andrew Laufer stated “Hur lied.” Even neutral experts like national security lawyer Bradley Moss predicted “Democrats are going to eat Hur alive” over his handling of the probe. With Hur’s motivations and conclusions now under a cloud, it’s clear the battle over Biden’s mental acuity has swung decisively in the President’s favor.

The transcript’s release also throws into stark relief the hypocrisy and bad faith of Republican attack dogs like Rep. Jim Jordan, who have eagerly parroted smears about Biden’s senility while ignoring vastly more disturbing evidence of cognitive decline from their cult leader Donald Trump. As Democrats pointedly noted at the Judiciary hearing, the same GOP voices now faking outrage over a few Biden memory lapses have had no issues with Trump’s obvious mental decline.

By revealing the hollowness of Hur’s assessment and the cynical motivations of Biden’s GOP critics, the transcript represents a pivotal PR victory for the White House at a critical juncture in Biden’s presidency.

With his State of the Union showing renewed vigor and opinion seemingly turning in his favor, the transcript reinforces a narrative of a fundamentally sharp, energetic leader with a speech impediment who has been shamelessly maligned by his opponents.

While Biden certainly isn’t immune to the occasional mental lapse that comes with advanced age, the transcript suggests these moments have been wildly overblown and distorted for partisan gain. Compared to the very real, documented signs of Trump’s mental deterioration – from thinking Obama is still president to his frequent nonsensical ramblings – Biden’s missteps pale in comparison.

It’s important to note that Robert Hur abruptly resigned from the Department of Justice the day before his high-stakes congressional testimony. And this is raising major red flags about his independence and motives as the special counsel who investigated President Biden’s handling of classified documents.

His departure from the Department of Justice frees Hur from the constraints of federal ethics rules governing testimony and conduct. But more alarmingly, it’s been revealed that the now-private citizen Hur has been preparing for the hearing alongside William Burck – a longtime Republican operative with disturbing ties to Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Burck’s background alone should disqualify him from any role in an ostensibly nonpartisan probe. During the Bush administration, he served in several high-level White House roles before Bush designated him to represent the archives. In the Trump era, Burck represented numerous key figures like Don McGahn and Reince Priebus during the Mueller investigation’s legally fraught battles.

Even more damningly, Burck was hand-picked by Trump in 2018 to review records related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, then advised Trump to cover up those documents by invoking executive privilege. His stonewalling helped conceal potential bombshell sexual assault allegations during Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

With such a brazen history of enabling Republican coverups and Trumpian obstructionism, Burck’s involvement with Hur’s testimony reeks of bad faith. The shift from federal employee to private citizen consulting with overtly partisan counsel doesn’t just erode Hur’s credibility – it reinforces the perception that his findings were always intended as a political weapon against Biden.

From the outset, Hur’s depiction of Biden as a supposed dementia patient strained credulity, clashing sharply with the President’s lucid public performances. The hearing transcript’s release confirmed Hur’s assessment was an unjustified smear utterly disconnected from the interview evidence.

Ultimately, the Hur transcript transcends this latest D.C. spat to highlight a much broader truth about today’s Republican party. Untethered from decency or objective reality, they’re increasingly defined by raw resentments and the pursuit of power through any means necessary, no matter how unethical or unmoored from facts. Their reckless smears on Biden prove they’ve learned nothing from the Trump era’s norm-shattering mendacity.

Americans of both parties should take note – when even a handpicked special counsel’s findings are this brazenly manipulated, it shows how little regard for truth remains in certain partisan quarters. As the nation hurtles toward a pivotal election, it’s a sobering reminder to be vigilant against disinformation and demagoguery from illiberal forces.