Hur may have recommended against prosecuting Biden, but he also picked at the president’s greatest political vulnerability by detailing the fact that Biden didn’t know what years he served as vice president, among other alarming anecdotes.
On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough cast doubt on its recounting of Biden’s cognitive decline by characterizing Hur as a “Trumper” and wailing that the details he included in the document were “gratuitous.”
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called the report “an outrage” and a “disgrace,” insisting that Hur only included the passages about Biden’s mental state because he’s a Republican.
“Let’s be clear — the special counsel isn’t a dummy, and we should be very careful not to take the bait after Comey pulled this in 2016,” proclaimed Jim Messina, who ran Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
“Hur, a lifelong Republican and creature of DC, didn’t have a case against Biden, but he knew exactly how his swipes could hurt Biden politically.”
Columnist Matthew Yglesias minced even fewer words, fuming that “This is f*cking bullsh*t.”
“You appoint a Republican special counsel to investigate. He investigates. His investigation does not reveal a crime. So instead of saying ‘all good!’ he goes off and does partisan political hits?”
The special counsel didn’t include the anecdotes about Biden’s failing memory in order to execute a political hit job, but to help explain his ultimate recommendation that Biden — “ a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” — not be held criminally liable for his behavior.
“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify 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,” wrote Hur.
If Hur was some kind of partisan hack intently focused on bolstering Trump’s campaign and blowing up Biden’s, why did he take pains to favorably compare Biden’s behavior to Trump’s?
“Several material distinctions between Mr. Trump’s case and Mr. Biden’s are clear,” he observed, before ripping into the former for refusing to return documents, trying to destroy evidence and lying about it all.
“In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview and in other ways cooperated with the investigation,” acknowledged Hur.
If Hur set out to provide aid and comfort to Trump, this was an awfully strange way to do it.
Many of Biden’s fellow Democrats are no doubt regretting their choice to stick with him through the 2024 election cycle.
The incumbent is trailing Trump in most national and swing-state polls, and his age represents an enormous, fixed electoral liability that is impossible to brush aside.
Biden has been immensely unpopular for 2½ years, largely because of the perception that he’s not up to the job.
Hur may have added fuel to that fire by describing his interactions with the president, but he didn’t start it.
If Democrats’ only answer to voters’ concern over an 81-year-old’s well-documented decline is to cobble together conspiracy theories that resemble those on the fever swamp Right, they’ll find that Biden’s age will turn out to be not a weakness but an insurmountable obstacle to his reelection.