President Trump is demanding that charges against him be dropped in the classified documents case after President Joe Biden faces no charges in a similar case.
Former President Donald Trump has called on special counsel Jack Smith to immediately drop all charges against him in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case after President Joe Biden was found to have wilfully retained sensitive national security materials but faces no charges.
Unlike President Trump, who faces a bevy of charges in connection with sensitive documents he kept at his Florida home, President Biden has not been charged with any crimes.
The documents President Biden retained include classified materials related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan and notebooks with handwritten notes about matters of national security that implicated sensitive intelligence sources and methods, per Mr. Hur’s report.
Trump: ‘Election Interference’
However, the special counsel chose not to recommend the prosecution of President Biden because he said the evidence didn’t establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and because of certain “aggravating and mitigating factors,” including cognitive issues.
The decision not to charge President Biden stands in stark contrast to the charges leveled against President Trump by Mr. Smith for allegedly mishandling sensitive documents.
President Trump, who has pleaded not guilty in his case, told Fox News that he believes the decision not to charge President Biden is grossly unfair.
“I am covered by the Presidential Records Act—he wasn’t,” he told the outlet. “He had many, many times more documents—totally unguarded. Mine were always surrounded by Secret Service and in locked rooms,” the former president said.
In sharper remarks on social media, President Trump alleged that the decision not to charge President Biden was reflective of a “two-tiered system of justice and unconstitutional selective prosecution.”
Jack Smith “should drop this Case immediately. ELECTION INTERFERENCE,” he wrote.
President Biden has claimed that Mr. Hur’s report vindicates him.
“I was pleased to see they reached the conclusion I believed all along they would reach—that there would be no charges brought in this case and the matter is now closed,” he said in a statement.
One of the reasons the special counsel decided not to charge President Biden was what Mr. Hur characterized as the president’s failing memory.
“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,” the special counsel wrote.
“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify a 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.”
President Biden was questioned by reporters about Mr. Hur’s remarks about his memory.
There were mixed reactions in Congress to Mr. Hur’s report—and the decision not to charge President Biden.
Republicans generally echoed President Trump’s claims of a two-tiered justice system while Democrats came out in support of President Biden.
In his report, Mr. Hur drew a contrast between President Biden and President Trump in terms of their respective handling of sensitive documents and the degree of cooperation with investigators.
Citing the indictment against President Trump, Mr. Hur said that the former president allegedly refused to return classified materials after being asked to do so, and that some documents were even destroyed.
“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite,” Mr. Hur wrote.
By contrast, Mr. Hur wrote that President Biden “alerted authorities, turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice in 2022 and 2023, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, permitted the seizure and review of handwritten notebooks he believed to be his personal property, and in numerous other ways cooperated with the investigation.”
Mr. Hur said, “unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegation set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts.”
Originally, Mr. Smith indicted the 45th president on 37 counts in connection with allegations that President Trump willfully retained classified documents, obstructed justice, and made false statements in connection with the sensitive documents he kept at his Mar-a-Lago home.
On June 13, 2023, President Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37 charges, which include alleged violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes unauthorized possession of defense information.
In a superseding indictment issued on July 27, 2023, Mr. Smith’s team accused President Trump of conspiring with his staff to delete some security footage so that the grand jury in the case would not see all the evidence.
The special counsel charged President Trump with an additional three charges in the superseding indictment: willful retention of national defense information and two charges in connection to claims that he allegedly told a Mar-a-Lago worker to delete security tapes to prevent a grand jury from seeing them.
The additional indictment brought the total number of charges against President Trump to 40.
He has pleaded not guilty and said the entire case—which he has called the “box hoax”—is part of a ploy to undermine his presidential comeback bid.