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Lawmakers conclude hearing on Biden classified documents investigation

U.S. Attorney Robert Hur Associated Press/Photo by Steve Ruark, file

Lawmakers conclude hearing on Biden classified documents investigation

Update, 5:17 p.m.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, gaveled out the hearing Tuesday afternoon. Jordan had placed the hearing in recess earlier in the afternoon to allow members to participate in House votes. The hearing then reconvened for further questions from lawmakers.

Did anything else notable happen? Hur expressed reluctance to address matters not discussed in his report. He continued referring to the report, telling lawmakers he stood by every word. Rep. Nathaniel Moran, R-Texas, sought to make an argument from the reasoning in Hur’s report that President Joe Biden was legally “incapacitated” according to Washington, D.C., law, saying that he was not able to perceive and evaluate information effectively. Other lawmakers continued highlighting differences between Trump’s behavior regarding his alleged retention of classified documents and Biden’s cooperation with investigators.

Update, 12:54 p.m.

Democrats, Republicans question investigator of Biden classified document

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, oversaw the hearing on Tuesday. Members of Congress questioned Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Hur about the transcript of interviews between himself and President Joe Biden.

How did Hur respond to these questions? Hur turned to face questioners on either side of the panel’s bench. He defended his report and repeatedly hesitated to answer questions about other matters. He also turned questions back to his report and avoided answering hypothetical scenarios posed in questions.

What did Republicans on the panel ask about? Republicans sought to contrast Hur’s treatment of Biden with Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith’s decision to bring classified document charges against former President Donald Trump. Hur concluded that President Joe Biden had wilfully retained and disclosed classified documents but recommended that the Justice Department not bring charges against him. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has faced charges of retaining and disclosing classified documents. Chairman Jordan questioned Hur about the report that then-Vice President Biden received an $8 million advance on a memoir he would write after his time in office. Jordan alleged that he gave Biden “eight million reasons” for retaining classified documents.

What did the Democrats at the hearing ask about? Democrats highlighted the differences between former President Donald Trump—whom they allege chose not to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation—and President Biden’s alleged choice to work with the Justice Department’s investigation. They pointed out that, during the first days of Israel’s war in Gaza, Biden reportedly spoke with the investigators for five hours. Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Hur’s report “completely exonerated” Biden while acknowledging that during his interview with Hur, the president likely made verbal slip-ups “as is his habit.”

Original report, 10:29 a.m.

Special counsel testifies Congress about Biden classified documents probe

Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Hur on Tuesday morning began testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Last month, Hur formally reported on his decision not to pursue charges against President Joe Biden for retaining and disclosing classified documents after serving as vice president in the Obama administration. Hur had concluded that Biden had willfully retained the documents but that the Justice Department would struggle to prove as much in a court of law. He said the president would likely depict himself as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Additionally, Hur added that Justice Department policy prevents the prosecution of sitting presidents. A two-part transcript from Hur’s Oct. 8-Oct. 9, 2023, interview with Biden was leaked Tuesday morning and publicly released in part by Democrats on the committee.

What is Hur expected to say in today’s hearing? In an opening statement released before the hearing, Hur said he did not “sanitize” his assessment of President Biden’s memory and mental acuity. He added that he did not unnecessarily disparage the president, either. He added that he was willing to testify about the content of his report but not about the investigative steps he and his team did or did not take.

Dig deeper: Read Leo Briceno’s report in The Stew examining Hur’s report.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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