March 12, 2024 – Biden-Hur transcript offers insight into special counsel’s classified documents report; Biden lied about Beau exchange

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations by Katie Weddington

Robert Hur, special counsel: His office reportedly obtained more than 100 pages of documents from Kathy Chung. (Credit: The Associated Press)

A transcript of special counsel Robert Hur’s two-day interview with President Biden offered a detailed view of the exchanges at the heart of Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified materials.

A copy of the transcript, obtained by The Hill ahead of Hur’s testimony on Capitol Hill, made clear that Biden occasionally fumbled over details, including when staff interjected to remind him what year his son died, but he was fully engaged and often joked with the special counsel and his staff throughout the interview.

The transcript offers the fullest picture yet of how Biden handled the interview, which later became fodder for Hur’s report in which he described the president as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

At the outset of the interview, Hur acknowledged that some of the questions asked would be related to events that happened “years ago” and that investigators would ask Biden to answer to the best of his recollection.

“I’m a young man, so it’s not a problem,” Biden quipped.

One of the most notable exchanges to come out of Hur’s final report was when the special counsel wrote that Biden struggled to remember key dates and details, including when his son Beau died.

The transcript shows Biden is the one who first raised the death of his son, and while he recounts the date of Beau Biden’s death — May 30 — two aides interject to note it was in 2015.

“And what’s happened in the meantime is that as — and Trump gets elected in November of 2017?” Biden says, according to the transcript, to which two others note it was 2016.

16, 2016. All right. So — why do I have 2017 here?” Biden asks, at which point his White House counsel notes that’s when Biden left office as vice president.

“Yeah, OK. But that’s when Trump gets sworn in, January. … And in 2017, Beau had passed and — this is personal,” Biden continues.

In a press conference following the release of the report, Biden expressed particular anger over the special counsel saying he did not remember when his son died.

“How in the hell dare he raise that?” Biden said in the February press conference. “Frankly, when I was asked the question I thought to myself, it wasn’t any of their damn business.”

Other exchanges in the report were less contentious. Biden spoke at length about his Corvette. The president joked that the FBI likely knows the layout of his Wilmington, Del., home better than he does. He quipped that he hoped investigators didn’t find any photos of his wife in a bathing suit.

Hur and his team asked numerous questions about how and where Biden consumed classified information and how his team packed up his things at the end of his term as vice president.

On the second day of the interview, which took place Oct. 9, Biden defended his handling of classified documents emphatically and said that he did not keep classified documents.

“The point is I never kept anything when I wasn’t vice president or president that, in fact, was classified document to be used by me for any reason,” Biden said.

Hur noted that Biden “out of the gate” was trying to distinguish between documents with “red color borders” and “small letter classification markings.” Biden replied that his point was that he returned anything that was clearly marked. He discussed with his personal counsel Bob Bauer if there was an instance when some papers with red markings on it were found, but said he didn’t discover that independently.

Biden was asked about a notebook and had to recall dates.

(Read more: The Hill, 3/12/2024)  (Archive)