A New York congresswoman says President Biden must be prosecuted or removed from office.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) is calling for President Joe Biden’s removal from office via the 25th Amendment after the special counsel who probed his handling of classified documents reported that the president showed signs of “diminished faculties and faulty memory.”
Ms. Tenney, in a Feb. 8 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, said she had “grave concerns” after reading Justice Department special counsel Robert Hur’s report.
“After concluding that President Biden knowingly and willfully removed, mishandled, and disclosed classified documents repeatedly over a period of decades, Mr. Hur nevertheless recommended that charges not be brought against him,” she noted. “Special Counsel’s reasoning was alarming.”
Mr. Hur’s report, released earlier that day, detailed his findings surrounding the classified documents discovered in President Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence and the Penn Biden Center in Washington.
The report also explained Mr. Hur’s declination to pursue criminal charges in the case, one of which was the belief that the president would present himself to a jury as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“I need not tell you that selective prosecution is morally, ethically, and legally prohibited,” Ms. Tenney wrote. “We don’t prosecute or decline to prosecute people based on their personalities, or on the public’s anticipated perception of them. If Special Counsel finds that the evidence forms a reasonable basis to bring charges, he must do so.”
Mr. Hur also cited a lack of sufficient evidence to establish President Biden’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” as justification for his declination to prosecute. That assertion, however, appears to conflict with his other determination that the president “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” as a private citizen.
The decision also exposes an inconsistency in the Justice Department’s treatment of President Biden and former President Donald Trump, who is currently being prosecuted by special counsel Jack Smith in a very similar case.
Ms. Tenney, noting this disparity, wrote, “The Department of Justice cannot ethically bring charges against former president Trump because he has mental acuity and a forceful personality and decline to bring charges against President Biden because of his cognitive decline. President Biden needs to be charged. Unless he is not mentally competent to stand trial.”
Mr. Hur’s report detailed several instances where President Biden was unable to recall significant details about his personal life and career, including when his son died and when he became vice president.
Describing those memory lapses as “exceptionally concerning” and even “frightening,” Ms. Tenney concluded that President Biden may not be competent to stand trial.
“And he most assuredly lacks the ability to execute his presidential responsibilities. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon you to begin proceedings to remove the President pursuant to the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” she wrote.
“President Biden needs to be charged, or he needs to be removed. There is no middle ground.”
The 25th Amendment lays out the constitutional process for removing a president who has been deemed unable to discharge the responsibilities of his office.
The amendment can be invoked by the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet—“or of such other body as Congress may by law provide”—by transmitting their written declaration of the president’s incapacity to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House. At that point, the vice president would assume the office of acting president.
Hours after Mr. Hur’s report was released, President Biden held an impromptu press conference to address its findings and claims about his mental acuity.
The event, however, did little to instill confidence in those with concerns about his fitness for office.
At one point, after stating that his “memory is fine,” the president went on to mix up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt. He also defiantly—and, at times, angrily—clashed with reporters, asserting his innocence of any wrongdoing regarding his handling of classified information.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) agreed, holding that the president “can’t have it both ways.”