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Kamala Harris slams special counsel’s claim about Biden’s age, memory


Washington, Feb 10

US Vice President Kamala Harris, trusted lieutenant and running mate of President Joe Biden in 2024 presidential elections, is using her outreach and clout with African Americans, Hispanics and Asians and Indians in tandem with the White House working overtime in damage control exercise to discredit a special counsel’s claims that Biden suffers from memory loss.

She and the White House have dismissed the Trump appointed special counsel Robert Hur’s report on classified documents, that Hur charged Biden took home when he was vice president under then President Barack Obama, as inaccurate, out of bounds and politically motivated.

President Biden reacted emotionally to the charges on his son’s death, telling Hur that he damned well knew well and was shattered by his son’s death and he (Hur) should have stayed out of it. Hur’s uncharacteristic remarks about Biden’s memory loss touched a raw nerve in the president.

“As a former prosecutor, the comments that were made by that prosecutor: gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, who previously served as California’s attorney general.

“The way that the president’s demeanour in that report was characterised could not be more wrong on the facts, and clearly politically motivated,” said Harris, addressing the report after speaking at a White House event on gun violence prevention.

She is now the roving ambassador of President Biden campaigning in key swing states on how the democrats will keep abortion rights on the statute books as laid out in the Roe vs Wade case, sought to be demolished by the Republicans in the Congress.

Along with the Presidential elections in 2024, the house of representatives also goes to polls to elect new law makers – the trend is against the republicans on the abortions issue but the classified documents case and border issue could spiral out of control if not contained, analysts say. The GOP lost three states on the abortion issue in the off year elections in 2023 and mid term elections in 2022.

While the term of office for a senator is six years, that of a house representative of the congress is only two years.

Putting damage control measures to contain the bombshell special counsel report that elevated concerns about Biden’s age and mental fitness, White House counsel spokesman Ian Sams sought to reject the findings at a briefing with reporters. Sams pointed to “a pressurised political environment” in which he said Republicans have “made up claims of a two-tiered system of justice between Republicans and Democrats.”

“When the inevitable conclusion is that the facts and the evidence don’t support any charges, you’re left to wonder why this report spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms of the president,” Sams said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur as special counsel to lead the investigation into Biden’s classified documents ,and Robert Hur is a Republican and former Trump appointee as is the US attorney in Maryland.

Hur’s report, released Thursday, recommended no charges against Biden over classified documents found at the President’s Delaware residence but cited evidence that Biden “wilfully retained” classified materials. Nevertheless, Hur concluded that jurors would likely find reasonable doubt.

The material difference between Trumps classified documents case and Biden’s is that the former declined to hand over the documents to the National Archives but Biden admitted he took it and handed it over to the National Archives following protocols of the executive office, media reports said

The report portrayed Biden as an elderly man with “diminished capacities,” including memory loss, claiming Biden could not recall which years he served as vice president or when his son, Beau Biden, had died of brain cancer. The remark that Biden could not remember when his son died, hit the President very hard emotionally and he reacted angrily saying he knew well and there was no memory loss and Hur had no idea of how he was and that national security matters had distracted him.

“When you are the first special counsel in history not to indict anybody there is

pressure to criticise and to make statements that maybe otherwise you wouldn’t make,” Sams said.

Republicans seized on the report’s claims. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is challenging former president Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, wrote on social media that “the White House is not a taxpayer-subsidized nursing home,” USA TODAY quoted her as saying.

Biden, who turned 81 in November, attacked Hur’s characterisations Thursday night at a hastily arranged press conference, insisting “my memory is fine” and angrily rejecting the assertion that he could not remember when his son died. Biden also disputed the special counsel’s conclusion that Biden “willfully retained” the classified documents.

Disputing the claims of Biden’s memory loss, Sams said the report contradicts itself. He cited page 233, which says that if a case against Biden where to go to trial “we expect the evidence of Mr. Biden’s state of mind to be compelling − clear, forceful testimony that he did, in fact, believe he was allowed” to have notebooks that contained classified documents.

“I can’t explain why the report veers all over the place on this issue,” Sams said. The White House received the full 383-page special counsel report on Thursday, according to Sams, after Biden was briefed by his attorneys following a review by his lawyers.

The White House stressed that Biden fully cooperated with the special counsel and pointed to legal experts and former prosecutors who criticised Hur’s decision to include observations about Biden’s memory in the report. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who served in the Obama administration, called those passages “flatly inconsistent with long standing DOJ traditions.”

“Had this report been subject to a normal DOJ review these remarks would undoubtedly have been excised,” Holder wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. Biden’s interview with prosecutors occurred the day after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel − while “the president was managing an intensive international crisis,” Sams said.

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