White House slams Special Prosecutor Robert Hur's 'gratuitous' and 'inappropriate' comments on Joe Biden

After the publication of an unflattering report from special prosecutor Robert Hur for Joe Biden, calling into question the president's abilities, the White House continues its counterattack

White House slams Special Prosecutor Robert Hur's 'gratuitous' and 'inappropriate' comments on Joe Biden

After the publication of an unflattering report from special prosecutor Robert Hur for Joe Biden, calling into question the president's abilities, the White House continues its counterattack. Thursday evening, Joe Biden appeared before journalists for an unscheduled intervention, around 8 p.m., during which he rejected any allusion to his health.

A special prosecutor's comments are "gratuitous and inappropriate criticism," said Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, Friday, February 9. “When the obvious conclusion is that the evidence does not support an indictment, one wonders why this report devotes so much space to gratuitous and inappropriate criticism of the president,” the spokesperson continued.

Asked whether the White House would release a copy of the transcript of the president's interview with the special counsel, Mr. Sams said that some portions were classified, but that if any portions could be declassified a review would be made and "a decision” will be made.

If the spokesperson did not accuse the special prosecutor of any political motivation, he suggested that Mr. Hur may have felt pressured to "exceed his remit", due to the very polarized American political context, to nine months before the November presidential election. “We are in a high-pressure political environment. And when you’re the first special prosecutor who hasn’t indicted anyone, there’s pressure to criticize,” Mr. Sams continued.

Robert Hur, Republican, was appointed federal prosecutor for Maryland (2018-2021) by former President Donald Trump. He was then appointed in January 2023 by Biden administration Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the discovery in December 2022 and January 2023 of classified documents from Joe Biden's time as vice president (2009-2017) in his residence in Wilmington (Delaware) as well as in a former office.

The lesson of Kamala Harris, former prosecutor

American Vice President Kamala Harris, herself a former prosecutor, also denounced Robert Hur's “political motivations” on Friday. Responding to a reporter's question at the end of a violence prevention event at the White House, she recalled that this interview took place in October 2023, in the very early days of the international crisis triggered by the unprecedented attack by Palestinian Hamas in Israel. “It was an intense moment for the commander in chief of the United States of America,” Ms. Harris recalled.

She added that "the manner in which the President's behavior in this report has been characterized could not be more factually incorrect and clearly politically motivated, gratuitous." The Vice President of the United States concluded by saying that a special prosecutor should have a “higher level of integrity than what we have seen.”

In a report released Thursday recommending against prosecution of 81-year-old Joe Biden, special prosecutor Robert Hur concluded that the president “knowingly kept and disclosed classified documents after his vice presidency while he was a private citizen ”, but explained that “an indictment would not be warranted,” particularly because a jury would give the benefit of the doubt to “a nice, well-intentioned elderly man with a poor memory.” He also wrote that Mr. Biden's memory "had gotten worse": the president "could no longer remember when he was vice president" or exactly the year his eldest son, Beau, died.

The Democratic president is running for re-election in November and will most likely find former President Donald Trump, 77, the big favorite in the Republican primaries, on his way. Mr. Trump's political supporters made their point on Thursday about the contents of the report, assuring that Joe Biden was no longer "fit" to govern.