Garland defends Bidens fitness after special counsel Hur criticized his memory: Complete confidence


(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers on Tuesday he has “complete confidence” in President Joe Biden’s mental fitness for office, despite findings by special counsel Robert Hur whose report issued in February included embarrassing and disputed characterizations about the president’s memory and age.

“If you’re asking me about my own observations as a member of the National Security Council and a member of the president’s Cabinet, I have complete confidence in the president,” Garland said during a House Appropriations hearing.

“I have watched him expertly guide meetings of staff and Cabinet members on issues of foreign affairs and military strategy and policy in the incredibly complex world in which we now face and in which he has been decisive — decisive in instructions to the staff and the subject in making the decisions necessary to protect the country,” Garland added.

The attorney general had faced criticism from some Democrats for not pushing back before against Hur’s descriptions of Biden’s memory in a report that scrutinized the president’s handling of classified records while he was out of office.

“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter” as the “evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hur’s report stated.

Nonetheless, throughout that report, Hur painted a dim picture of the president — one that his political opponents immediately seized on — as sometimes struggling with memory issues and not able to remember when he finished his term as vice president or when his son Beau died.

Biden, his aides and attorneys forcefully rejected that assessment.

“How in the hell dare he raise that?” the president told reporters in a defiant press conference after the report’s release, continuing: “I don’t need anyone to remind me when he [Beau] passed away or that he passed away.”

Under questioning from lawmakers in March, Hur defended how he described Biden’s memory, insisting that “my assessment in the report about the relevance of the president’s memory was necessary and accurate and fair. I did not sanitize my explanation.”

Garland told reporters last month that the suggestion that he could censor or dilute Hur’s report was “absurd,” reasoning it would most certainly cause greater controversy than simply releasing Hur’s report as he had promised previously.

He declined at the time to comment directly on whether he personally believed Hur’s detailed descriptions of Biden’s mental acuity were appropriate to include.

His response on Tuesday was his most extensive personal defense of Biden since the report’s release, even as he told lawmakers he wasn’t seeking to comment on the report directly.

“With respect to domestic policy discussions, these are intricate, complicated questions that he has guided all of us through in order to reach results that are helpful and important and beneficial to the American people,” Garland said. “I could not have more confidence in the president.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.