February 16, 2024

White House Blasts Special Counsel Report Ahead of Its Release

The Justice Department rejected attempts by President Joe Biden's attorneys to exclude language critical of his age and memory from a report issued last week by special counsel Robert Hur, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.

According to four individuals close to the situation, a series of correspondences, initially reported by the New York Times on Thursday, were authenticated.

On February 7, attorneys Ed Siskel and Bob Bauer, representing the president, wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, expressing concerns that details in the report regarding the president's recollections during an interview with investigators violated department policy.

In their letters, they contended that the language in question was in breach of departmental norms.

A senior Justice Department official, Bradley Weinsheimer, responded the following day, asserting that the language in question was not gratuitous or prejudicial, as it was intended to elucidate Special Counsel Hur's conclusions about the president's state of mind regarding classified information.

Hur's 388-page report ultimately contained blasting assessments of the president's mental acuity, labeling him as an "elderly man with a poor memory."

Despite these characterizations, the report concluded that no criminal charges were warranted, even if there were no restrictions against charging a sitting president.

Critics of President Biden seized upon these findings to cast doubt on his fitness for office. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll revealed that a majority of Americans consider Biden too old to serve another term.

Following the report's release, Siskel and Bauer disagreed with the Justice Department's assessment, asserting that the comments in Hur's report were not consistent with departmental policy.

President Biden himself criticized details in the report, asserting his competence to reporters at the White House on the night of its publication.

Hur is scheduled to testify about the report before Congress on March 12, as reported by ABC News on Thursday.

This follows requests from House Republicans earlier in the week for his testimony, along with demands for related audio recordings and transcripts from Hur's investigation.

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