Feb 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

How Biden's lawyers pressured the Justice Department on Robert Hur report

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President Biden's lawyers urged Attorney General Merrick Garland in last-minute appeals to note their concerns about special counsel Robert Hur's report on the president.

Why it matters: The newly released letters show how worried Biden's team was about Hur's depiction of the 81-year-old president as a man with a "poor memory."

  • "Mr. Hur's criticism of President Biden mirrors one of the most widely recognized examples in recent history of inappropriate prosecutor criticism of uncharged conduct," the lawyers wrote.
  • Hur is expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 12.

Zoom in: Biden's lawyers accused Hur of breaking Justice Department norms by going public with his findings instead of writing a confidential report, according to letters made public Thursday by Politico, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

  • A Feb. 7 letter from Biden's lawyers argued that Hur's "criticism of President Biden mirrors one of the most widely recognized examples in recent history of inappropriate prosecutor criticism of uncharged conduct."
  • During the 2016 campaign, FBI Director James B. Comey held a press conference to discuss his findings from an investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, then said he had no reason to recommend charges.

The other side: "The identified language ... is not offered to criticize or demean the President," associate deputy attorney general Bradley Weinsheimer replied to Biden's lawyers the next day.

  • "Rather, it is offered to explain Special Counsel Hur's conclusions about the President's state of mind in possessing and retaining classified information."
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