Special Counsel Robert Hur says Biden 'willfully' kept, shared classified memos but won't be charged

The Department of Justice sent Hur's final 345-page report to Congress on Thursday.

Published: February 8, 2024 3:06pm

Updated: February 8, 2024 4:45pm

Special counsel Robert Hur concluded in a stinging report released Thursday that President Joe Biden willfully kept classified documents from his time as vice president, shared them with an author and knew he had them as far back as 2017, but he recommended against prosecution.

Hur said that part of the reason he declined to prosecute the president's age and poor memory would create reasonable doubt for jurors.

It "would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness," the prosecutor wrote.

"Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," his report added.

But Hur spared few words for Biden's handling of classified information, some which were kept in notebooks in insecure locations.

"Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen," the report concluded.

You can read the full report here.

Hur found that the materials Biden secreted from the White House were highly sensitive, and included "marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan and notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence source and methods."

The prosecutor revealed that Biden knew he had classified documents at his home back in 2017 and shared some of the information with the ghostwriter for his memoir published that year.

Hur's conclusions present a stark contrast to what fellow Special Counsel Jack Smith did in prosecuting former President Donald Trump for keeping similarly classified materials at his Mar A Lago home. Hur addressed why in the report he came to a different conclusion.

"Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite," Hur explained in the report. "According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.

"In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation," Hur said.

The Department of Justice sent Hur's final 345-page report to Congress on Thursday. Reports first emerged in November that Hur would likely not bring charges over the matter and Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday confirmed that the probe had concluded.

Garland appointed Hur in January of 2023 amid reports that Biden had left classified materials at his private D.C. office and Delaware home.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News