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Special counsel report on Biden is inaccurate, gratuitous -White House

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Special counsel report on Biden is inaccurate, gratuitous -White House
February 09, 2024
Jeff Mason and Steve Holland - Reuters

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Friday sharply criticized a report from a Department of Justice special counsel that suggested President Joe Biden was suffering memory lapses, saying it included inaccurate, gratuitous and inappropriate criticism.

Ian Sams, spokesperson for the White House legal counsel's office, took the lectern in the White House briefing room to criticize the report from Special Counsel Robert Hur and raise questions about his judgment.

Hur said in a report released on Thursday that he chose not to bring criminal charges following a 15-month investigation into Biden's handling of classified documents because the president cooperated.

Hur said Biden would be difficult to convict and described him as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."

"We just reject that this is true," Sams said.

Vice President Kamala Harris also weighed in on the controversy.

"The way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and (is)clearly politically motivated," she said, according to a pool report.

Sams said the special counsel's comment that Biden could not remember the date of his son's death was "really out of bounds." Biden reacted furiously on Thursday night to Hur's comment about his son, saying "how the hell dare he" bring this up.

Biden's son Beau Biden died in 2015 after battling brain cancer. The president regularly invokes the death of his son when consoling relatives of service members who died in action or victims of gun violence, and visits his grave site on Beau's May 30 death anniversary.

Biden gave the interviews that the special counsel report was based on Oct. 8 and 9, after organizing the U.S. response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Sams announced that Biden has ordered establishment of a task force to review the handling of classified information during the transition period between a president and his successor.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese and Heather Timmons)

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