Biden, White House blame Israel war for forgetting basic facts during special counsel interviews

President Biden said Thursday that he struggled to remember certain key dates during his interviews with Special Counsel Robert Hur as a result of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Biden told reporters that he was “handling an international crisis” at the time of his interviews with federal investigators shortly after Hur released his 345-page report Thursday detailing the findings in his investigation into the president’s handling of classified documents. In the report, Hur noted that Biden’s memory failed him in multiple instances, saying the president forgot when he was vice president and when his son Beau died.

“I sought no delays. In fact, I was so determined to get the special counsel what they needed,” Biden remarked. “I went forward with a five-hour in-person interview over the two days of October — the ninth, eighth and ninth last year — even though Israel had just been attacked by Hamas on the seventh. I was in the middle of handling an international crisis.”

“Bottom line is, a special counsel in my case decided against moving forward any charges, and this matter is now closed,” the president continued. “I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done — stay focused on my job like you do, of my job of being president.”

TRUMP DEMANDS DOJ ‘IMMEDIATELY’ DROP CHARGES AGAINST HIM IN CLASSIFIED DOCS CASE AFTER BIDEN DECISION

President Joe Biden

According to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report Thursday, President Biden is described as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Additionally, shortly after the report was published, Biden’s personal lawyers Richard Sauber and Bob Bauer penned a letter to Hur, criticizing him for his characterization of the president’s memory. The lawyers said the report’s language has “no place in a Department of Justice report.”

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” Sauber and Bauer wrote. “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

This image from Special Council Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday, February 8, 2024 shows boxes inside Joe Biden’s garage containing classified Afghanistan documents on December 21, 2022.

This image from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday shows boxes inside President Biden’s garage containing classified Afghanistan documents on Dec. 21, 2022. (U.S. Department of Justice)

“In fact there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions about years-old events over the course of five hours,” they added in the letter. “This is especially true under the circumstances, which you do not mention in your report that his interview began the day after the October 7 attacks on Israel.”

White House communications director Ben LaBolt reiterated Biden’s counsel in a post on X, again calling attention to the dates of the president’s interviews in the case.

Robert Hur delivers remarks

Special Counsel Robert Hur delivers remarks at the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Building in Washington, D.C., on May 9, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the report, Hur detailed how Biden forgot basic facts about his own personal history and his family, even referring to Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” And the report states that a jury would have trouble convicting Biden of having committed a serious felony that “requires a mental state of willfulness.”

NO CHARGES FOR BIDEN AFTER SPECIAL COUNSEL PROBE INTO IMPROPER HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS

“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” the report states. “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).”

This image from Special Council Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday, February 8, 2024 shows Joe Biden inside his Virginia home office in October 2017.

This image from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday shows Joe Biden inside his Virginia home office in October 2017. (U.S. Department of Justice)

“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report continued. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”

This image from Special Council Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday, February 8, 2024 shows Joe Biden’s Delaware garage on December 21, 2022.

This image from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation released by the Department of Justice on Thursday shows President Biden’s Delaware garage on Dec. 21, 2022. (U.S. Department of Justice)

“In a case where the government must prove that Mr. Biden knew he had possession of the classified Afghanistan documents after the vice presidency and chose to keep those documents, knowing he was violating the law, we expect that at trial, his attorneys would emphasize these limitations in his recall,” the report said.

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The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman and Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.

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