In a significant report released ahead of the November 5 polls, a special US counsel has accused President Joe Biden of "willfully" mishandling classified documents during his time as a private citizen. The report, spanning 345 pages, outlines how Biden allegedly retained secret documents related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan after his tenure as vice president until 2017.
Special Counsel Robert Hur's report described Biden, who is 81 years old, as an "elderly man with poor memory," sparking a strong reaction from the president. Biden vehemently denied any wrongdoing and asserted that his memory is intact during an impromptu press conference at the White House.
The investigation, which lasted over a year, focused on classified files discovered at Biden's residence and former private office. These documents were reportedly classified as Top Secret and contained sensitive information related to Afghanistan, including national security and foreign policy matters.
The report criticized Biden for sharing some of this sensitive material with a ghostwriter for his memoir, raising concerns about potential national security risks. However, Hur concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish Biden's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and prosecution would be unwarranted based on mitigating factors.
Hur highlighted Biden's limited memory during recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017 and during his interview with the Special Counsel's office in 2023. The president's memory lapses, including forgetting key dates and events, were cited as factors that could sway a jury to view his actions as innocent mistakes rather than willful misconduct.
Responding to the report, Biden expressed frustration at the portrayal of his memory and vehemently denied any criminal intent in handling the documents. His counsel also criticized the report's treatment of Biden's memory as inaccurate and inappropriate.
Despite the controversy surrounding the report, Democrat Richard Blumenthal downplayed its impact on the 2024 election, stating that Biden remains sharp and capable. Meanwhile, the Trump Campaign seized on the findings to accuse Biden of lying to the nation and risking national security.
As the election approaches, Biden is expected to secure the Democratic Party's nomination, while former President Donald Trump is poised to win the Republican Party's nomination. However, the fallout from the special counsel's report may continue to influence the political landscape in the coming months.
(With Agency Inputs)