The United States Justice Department has issued a report concluding that President Joe Biden will not face criminal charges for retaining classified materials after his tenure as vice president. According to Special Counsel Robert K. Hur’s report, prosecutors expected Biden to present himself to a jury as a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory. According to the report, convincing a jury to convict him of a serious felony requiring willfulness would be difficult.
The report concludes that the evidence is insufficient to convict Biden and does not recommend prosecution for his retention of classified Afghanistan documents. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in a one-page letter to Congress that Biden “has decided not to assert executive privilege over any part of the report or its appendices.” The doctrine of executive privilege empowers the president to withhold certain documents or information from the judicial and legislative branches.
The Hur report seeks to distinguish between the Biden investigation and another into former President Donald Trump’s handling of documents, which resulted in charges, claiming “several material distinctions.” The allegations in Trump’s indictment, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts. Trump is alleged to have “obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.” In contrast, Biden turned over classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, agreed to a search of multiple locations, including his home, participated in a voluntary interview, and otherwise cooperated with the investigation.
The announcement prompted a response from Trump, who claimed in a written statement made public by his campaign that the two cases are very different and that he “did nothing wrong.” Trump claimed there is a “two-tiered system of justice” and demanded that the special counsel in his case drop it immediately, accusing it of “election interference.”
In a written statement, Biden stated that he was “pleased to see they reached the conclusion I believed all along — that there would be no charges brought in this case and the matter is now closed.” He stated that he fully cooperated, put up no roadblocks, and sought no delays.