‘I think the first thing is you look at the fact that we need to take the politics out of all of our agencies,’ she said.
GOP presidential Nikki Haley blasted the special counsel report surrounding President Joe Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified information, sounding the alarm on the president’s mental acuity and decrying what she called a double standard.
Special counsel Robert Hur announced on Feb. 8 that President Biden would not be charged for allegedly mishandling documents.
“It is unbelievably disturbing that they see Biden to not have a good memory, that they see him as diminished, that they see that it’s a problem, and they point-blank say that. I mean, this is actually dangerous,” said Ms. Haley during a Feb. 9 appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
In his 388-page report to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Mr. Hur expressed concerns about President Biden’s memory that even included the president not remembering when he was vice president.
President Biden’s forgetfulness could be a rationale for his keeping the classified information being unintentional, according to Mr. Hur.
In deciding not to charge the president, Mr. Hur said that a jury likely wouldn’t convict the president in part due to his cognitive issues.
“We have also considered that, at trial, 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,” Mr. Hur wrote.
“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. 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.”
Ms. Haley said President Biden’s cognitive issues exemplify why there needs to be mental competency tests, which Ms. Haley has repeatedly called for when it comes to politicians who are at least 75 years old.
Additionally, Ms. Haley said a president with mental acuity problems can have severe ramifications.
“Whether it’s Biden or whether it’s [former President Donald] Trump, they both knew better. You know when you work around national security documents… you know what’s not supposed to leave the office,” said the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“You don’t go bragging about these national security documents,” she continued. “You don’t leave them in a garage.
“Whatever it is, both these men knew better and the arrogance that they both had to think they could walk out with these documents and just not think that there were going to be any repercussions … So I mean look, it’s a disturbing day for America right now. I think we’ve got some work to do.”
Moreover, Ms. Haley lamented what she deemed a double standard in Mr. Hur not charging President Biden.
“I think the first thing is you look at the fact that we need to take the politics out of all of our agencies,” she said on “Hannity.”
“Whether this is [former President Bill] Clinton, whether this is Biden, whether this is Trump, they all need to be handled fairly,” she continued. “And clearly that’s not the case. We have to get rid of the double standard. And that continues to show itself.”
In 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey declined to charge former First Lady Hillary Clinton, the Democrat presidential nominee, for allegedly mishandling classified information by using private email and a private server when she was Secretary of State. Nonetheless, Mr. Comey blasted Ms. Clinton for being “extremely careless.”
Last year, special counsel Jack Smith indicted former President Donald Trump on 37 counts of allegedly mishandling classified information. A raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022 led to federal agents taking out boxes of classified information that were supposed to go to the National Archives after President Trump left office on Jan. 20, 2021. Some of these documents allegedly contained classified information related to foreign countries.
President Trump claimed that as president he had a right to declassify the documents, which he claimed he did, and therefore had the right to keep them.
Ms. Haley has said she would pardon President Trump if elected president, though she would not do so preemptively.
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” wrote Mr. Hur.
The materials, the report stated, 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 sources and methods.” The FBI collected these items during a search of President Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence last year.
Nonetheless, Mr. Hur said that “the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” and that “prosecution of Mr. Biden is also unwarranted based on our consideration of the aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in the Department of Justice’s Principles of Federal Prosecution.”
The classified documents are from President Biden’s more than four-decade career in politics, which has included the Senate, the vice presidency, and now the presidency.
Mr. Hur interviewed President Biden over the span of two days last year.
The Afghanistan documents, which had the highest level of classification in the United States, were from 2009. These papers were in a Virginia home that he rented in 2019 and where he met with his ghostwriter for his two books before they were sent to Delaware.
Finally, Mr. Hur stated that there was a difference between President Biden and President Trump in mishandling classified information. He said President Biden didn’t willfully take classified documents, but that President Trump did.