Harris slams ‘politically motivated’ report of Biden’s mishandling of documents

9 February 2024, 20:14

Election 2024 Trump’s Playbook Women
Election 2024 Trump’s Playbook Women. Picture: PA

The vice president called the report ‘gratuitous’ at an event at the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris slammed the report by a Justice Department special counsel into Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents that raised questions about the president’s memory.

Ms Harris called the report “politically motivated” and “gratuitous,” as the White House said the president would take steps to safeguard classified materials during presidential transitions.

The report from Robert Hur, the former Maryland US Attorney, found evidence that the president wilfully held onto, and shared with a ghost-writer, highly classified information.

However, he laid out why he did not believe the evidence met the standard for criminal charges, including a high probability that the Justice Department would not be able to prove Mr Biden’s intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

The White House has said Mr Biden erred in having the documents in his home and Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel’s office, said on Friday that the president would soon name a task force “to ensure that there are better processes in place” to protect classified materials when administrations change.

Biden Classified Documents
President Joe Biden’s memory was described as ‘hazy, fuzzy, faulty, poor’ and as having ‘significant limitations’ (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Hur report described the 81-year-old Democrat’s memory as “hazy”, “fuzzy”, “faulty”, “poor” and as having “significant limitations”.

It noted that Mr Biden could not recall defining milestones in his own life such as when his son Beau died or when he served as vice president.

Asked whether the White House would release a copy of the transcript of Mr Biden’s interview with Mr Hur that could dispute Mr Hur’s characterisations, Mr Sams said parts of it were classified, but that if parts could be declassified, “we’ll take a look at that and make a determination”.

At an event at the White House, Ms Harris said that as a former prosecutor, she considered Mr Hur’s comments “gratuitous, inaccurate, and inappropriate”.

She noted that Mr Biden’s two-day sit-down with Mr Hur occurred just after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, where more than 1,200 people were killed and about 250 were taken hostage, including many Americans.

Ms Harris said: “It was an intense moment for the commander in chief of the United States of America.”

The vice president said that ‘the way that the president’s demeanour in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts’ (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool)

She added that she spent countless hours with Mr Biden and other officials in the days that followed and he was “on top of it all”.

She added that “the way that the president’s demeanour in that report was characterised could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly politically motivated, gratuitous”.

Ms Harris concluded saying a special counsel should have a “higher level of integrity than what we saw”.

Her comments came a day after Mr Biden insisted that his “memory is fine” and grew visibly angry at the White House, as he denied forgetting when his son died.

Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.

Mr Sams suggested that the political environment led Mr Hur, who was appointed as US attorney by former President Donald Trump, to include the comments.

“There’s an environment that we are in, that generates a ton of pressure, because you have congressional Republicans, other Republicans, attacking prosecutors that they don’t like,” he said.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is unlawful, the International Court of Justice has ruled

Top UN court rules Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories 'unlawful', as Netanyahu slams 'false decision'

Shaikha Makhra announced her split on Instagram

Dubai princess announces divorce from husband via Instagram 'as he is occupied with other companions'

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained last March on spying charges

American journalist jailed for 16 years in Russia after being convicted of espionage

Dominic Reid and Prince Harry

Prince Harry's charity boss quits as head of Invictus Games days after duke sees backlash over veterans' award

CrowdStrike sign and logo at headquarters in Silicon Valley

What is CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company ‘responsible’ for global IT failure? Microsoft outages explained

Keir Starmer welcomes Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Downing Street

Starmer greets Zelenskyy as Ukrainian President becomes first foreign leader to address UK cabinet since Bill Clinton

The outage is being felt across the world

Global IT outage LIVE: CrowdStrike outage could be ‘biggest cyber incident in history’ as GP surgeries and banks hit

Trump recounted the shooting on Saturday

'I'm not supposed to be here': Emotional Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt in first speech since shooting

Nancy Pelosi has said 'Biden can be convinced to quit the presidential race'

Nancy Pelosi 'says Biden can be convinced to quit race', after Obama says he 'must seriously consider' stepping aside

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid as campaign hits back at 'baseless conjecture'

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide, including Sherine Chong (left)

US woman insisted on making tea for victims before poisoning them in cyanide murder-suicide plot at Bangkok hotel

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden ‘more receptive to standing down after senior Democrats turn on President’ as he battles Covid

Vance hailed Donald Trump as America's "best hope".

Donald Trump is the 'best hope for America', says vice-president pick JD Vance

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip