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US politics: Document affair: No prosecution against Biden

US politics: Document affair: No prosecution against Biden

About a year ago, government documents from his time as vice president were discovered in Joe Biden’s private rooms. This doesn’t have any criminal consequences – but Biden gets his fat off.

The affair surrounding the discovery of secret government documents in US President Joe Biden’s private rooms has no legal consequences – but could seriously damage the 81-year-old politically. Special Counsel Robert Hur’s published report describes Biden as a “well-meaning older man with a poor memory.” Hur comes to the conclusion that no criminal charges are justified in the documents affair. However, as a private citizen, Biden “intentionally retained and disclosed classified materials.” The investigator explains that this will not have any legal consequences, among other things, by saying that Biden’s memory was “significantly impaired” during the questioning.

At the end of 2022, classified information from Biden’s time as vice president was discovered in various locations, including in private offices in the capital Washington and in Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. The finds were politically extremely sensitive for the Democrat, as his Republican predecessor Donald Trump had caused a scandal with a similar case – and has to answer in court for his handling of documents. Both Biden and Trump want to run again in the US presidential election in November.

Will explosive assessments become a problem in the election campaign?

The report’s explosive assessments of his mental state could have a serious political impact on Biden during the election campaign. In a statement, Biden welcomed the fact that he did not have to fear any criminal consequences. “This was a comprehensive investigation that dates back more than 40 years, even to the 1970s when I was a young senator,” he wrote. A short time later, the president said at an event that the report showed that his case was different than Trump’s. Biden adviser Richard Sauber emphasized that they “disagree with some of the inaccurate and inappropriate comments in the special counsel’s report” but accepted that the special counsel’s decision was based on “facts and evidence.”

The report, which is more than 300 pages long, contains various descriptions of Biden’s handling of classified information and assessments of his character. It is said that Biden shared secret information with his ghostwriter for his 2017 book “Promise Me.” Elsewhere it is said that in an interview with the special counsel team, Biden did not remember when his time as vice president ended. He also forgot exactly when his son Beau died. At the same time, Biden is portrayed as vain.

Presidents and vice presidents are required to turn over secret documents to the National Archives after leaving office. They are not allowed to privately store confidential government records after leaving government. Biden was President Barack Obama’s deputy from 2009 to 2017 before moving into the White House as number one in the state at the beginning of 2021.

Republicans: Biden unfit for president

The Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives has described Biden as “unfit” for the White House. One of the “most disturbing parts of the report” was the special counsel’s reasoning as to why the 81-year-old would not be charged, according to a statement from the chairman of the US House of Representatives and his colleagues in the leadership team.

“A man who is unable to be held accountable for mishandling classified information is certainly unfit for the Oval Office,” said Mike Johnson.

Biden: My memory is fine

Biden has insisted that his memory is “fine.” “I mean, I’m an older man and I know what the hell I’m doing. I’m president and I got this country back on its feet,” Biden said at a short-term press statement. The 81-year-old was visibly upset during his speech and answered several questions from the media representatives present, who questioned him critically about, among other things, his age, mental state and suitability for the office of president.

But then Biden made Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi head of state of Mexico. “As you know, the President of Mexico, Al-Sisi, initially did not want to open the border crossing to let in humanitarian aid,” he said. At this point, Biden was obviously referring to the Egyptian president and was referring to the Rafah border crossing, through which aid supplies enter the Gaza Strip. With his statement in connection with Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, the 81-year-old responded to a question from a journalist present.

Confidential documents surfaced in Biden’s private quarters

About a year ago, several tranches of confidential documents from Biden’s time as vice president appeared in the Democrat’s private rooms – including in the garage of his home in Wilmington. Initially, employees came across documents, later investigators were called in and searched rooms in various locations.

Attorney General Merrick Garland ultimately appointed special counsel Hur to investigate the sensitive allegations. He previously worked as a lawyer for a law firm in Washington. Before that, he was a prosecutor in the US state of Maryland. Hur was nominated for the position by then-President Donald Trump. Before this position, he already worked in the Ministry of Justice – for example on the issues of combating terrorism and corporate fraud.

Trump also charged with unlawful storage

Biden’s predecessor Trump has now been charged with illegally storing highly sensitive information from his time as president (2017 to 2021). The Republican is accused of storing highly classified government documents from his time in office at his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and not returning them when requested. In response to the Biden report, Trump accused the judiciary of applying double standards and being selective. In a written statement distributed by his campaign team, the Republican claimed that Biden’s case was more serious and “egregiously criminal.”

Biden and the White House came under heavy criticism for their information policy in the case. The government headquarters initially only commented very sparingly on the allegations. The public only found out about some finds when the media reported on them. Biden also drew some displeasure with his succinct statements. After the sensational discovery in his garage in Wilmington – where his classic Corvette is also parked – he said to reporters: “My Corvette is in a locked garage, okay.” It’s not as if the documents were lying on the street.

Source: Stern

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