(The Center Square) – A visibly shaken President Joe Biden addressed the nation late Thursday in response to news that the special counsel tasked with investigating his handling of classified documents had chosen not to indict him. However, he also detailed numerous instances of his memory loss.
The blockbuster special counsel report, while exonerating Biden, raised questions about Biden’s mental health by calling him an “elderly man with a poor memory.” Mr. Biden is 81 years old.
“My memory is fine,” Biden retorted, before turning on reporters who asked him about his mental fitness to serve as president.
The special counsel’s report details numerous instances in which Mr. Biden cannot remember important events in his life.
“In interviews with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory worsened,” the report said. “He doesn’t remember when he was vice president, and he forgets the first day of the interview at the end of his term (“If it was 2013, when did you stop being vice president?”) and the interview I forgot about it on the second day. When his term began (“2009, Am I Still Vice President?”)
Biden served as vice president under then-President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
“He did not remember when his son Beau died, even years later,” the report continued. “And his memory was hazy when describing the Afghanistan controversy that was once so important to him, especially General Carl Eikenberry, when General Eikenberry was actually an ally. He mistakenly said there was a “huge difference” between his and General Carl Eikenberry’s opinions.” Mr. Eiden was quoted approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama. ”
Biden reacted angrily to information in the press about his son’s death.
“How on earth could he bring that up,” Biden said. “Frankly, when I was asked that question, I thought it was none of their business. Let me tell you something: I don’t need to remind anyone that he passed away.” Biden said he was managing the Israel-Hamas crisis while interviewing the special counsel.
Reporters immediately asked Biden about his memory Thursday night after his remarks.
“My memory is fine,” Biden replied, before pointing out his accomplishments since taking office.
Notably, while answering a reporter’s question about the Israel-Gaza conflict, Biden appeared to refer to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as the president of Mexico.
Attacks on Biden’s mental health are likely to continue in the coming months as he seeks a second term against former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican challenger he defeated in 2020. Biden’s political opponents online were quick to react to the gaffe.
“Joe Biden is unfit for the presidency,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) posted on X (formerly Twitter) late Thursday. “President Sisi is the president of Egypt, not the president of Mexico.”
Asked why he should be a Democrat to run against Trump, Biden said he was the best person to run.
Biden also mentioned the exculpatory report from the classified documents investigation.
“Today, the special counsel announced the findings of his investigation into my handling of classified documents,” Biden said. “I was pleased that he came to a firm conclusion that I should not be charged in this case. It was an investigation.”
In his remarks, Biden criticized his staff for their handling of classified documents and sought to dispel questions about his memory.
As The Center Square previously reported, Special Counsel Robert Hur said Thursday that he had found evidence that Biden “intentionally retained and disclosed classified material after becoming vice president and while a civilian.” But he said the evidence “does not prove Mr. Biden’s guilt; it does nothing beyond that.” That’s a natural suspicion. ”
The nearly 400-page report said Biden committed no crime but was negligent in his handling of documents.
“We conclude that criminal charges are not warranted in this case,” the report said. “We would reach the same conclusion even if Justice Department policy did not prohibit criminal charges against a sitting president.”
President Trump is indicted on the same charge of mishandling classified documents, one of several indictments spanning multiple states. Former Vice President Mike Pence also kept classified documents, but although he returned them after he left office, he was not indicted.
Trump told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the charges against him should be dropped immediately.
“They should immediately drop the case against me,” Trump told the media. “I’m protected under the Presidential Records Act, and he wasn’t. He had many times that amount of documents, but they weren’t protected at all. My documents were always in the hands of the Secret Service. He was kept in a closed room, surrounded by people.”
Mr. Biden was investigated on similar charges to Mr. Trump after federal authorities discovered classified documents stored in his home in Delaware and one of his offices in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Biden continued, “I was particularly pleased that the special counsel made clear distinctions and differences between this case and Mr. Trump’s case.”
Mr. Biden argued that Mr. Trump would have more readily turned over all documents and cooperated with federal authorities, whereas Mr. Trump did not. Biden said he fully cooperated with the investigation and agreed to a five-hour face-to-face interview with the special counsel.
Biden also argued that headlines about intentional document retention are misleading.
“The bottom line is this issue is settled,” Biden said.
“I have not broken any laws,” Biden told reporters. “period.”
The Justice Department report revealed Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, but ultimately said mitigating factors precluded formal legal charges.
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden knowingly retained and disclosed classified material after he became vice president and while a civilian,” Hoare said. “These materials include (1) marked classified documents related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan; and (2) Mr. Biden’s handwritten notes on national security and foreign policy issues involving classified intelligence sources and methods. FBI agents recovered these materials from the garage, office, and basement of Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. ”
One of those mitigating factors, according to the special counsel’s report, was that jurors would sympathize with Biden’s poor memory.