Biden defends how he handled classified docs after scathing special counsel report

President Biden walks across the South Lawn at the White House on Thursday.

Mandel Ngan /AFP via Getty Images

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Mandel Ngan /AFP via Getty Images

President Biden walks across the South Lawn at the White House on Thursday.

Mandel Ngan /AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said assertions that he willfully retained classified materials after leaving the Obama administration and becoming a private citizen, is “not only misleading, but also plain wrong.”

He also pushed back against a Justice Department special counsel’s claim that he couldn’t remember when his son Beau died, saying, “I thought to myself it was none of their damn business.”

The remarks come just hours after a Justice Department special counsel report report said Biden willfully held onto classified materials after leaving the Obama administration and becoming a private citizen. No criminal charges were recommended in the report.

The nearly 350-page report from special counsel Robert Hur, who was appointed to investigate the matter in January 2023.

“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” the report says. “We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”

In his report, Hur described Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and said it would have been “difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him … of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness” in his retention of classified Afghanistan documents. The report described Biden having trouble remembering timelines and details.

Hur’s decision not to pursue charges against the president brings an end to an investigation that began after Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in November 2022 in the offices of the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.

Biden’s personal attorneys turned over those materials, which were said to date to his time as vice president, to the National Archives and Records Administration. Federal agents then found a small number of additional classified documents in a search of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del. Agents also searched Biden’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., but did not turn up any sensitive materials.

This is a developing story and will be updated

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