White House clashed with DOJ over special counsel report before its release, sources confirm

The Justice Department rebuffed efforts by attorneys for President Joe Biden to omit language critical of his age and memory in a report published last week by special counsel Robert Hur, sources confirmed to ABC News.

Four people familiar with the matter authenticated a series of correspondence first described in a report published on Thursday by the New York Times.

On Feb. 7, Ed Siskel and Bob Bauer — attorneys to the president — wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, complaining that details in the report about the president’s recollections during an interview with investigators “openly, obviously and blatantly violate department policy and practice,” the letters show.

Bradley Weinsheimer, a senior Justice Department official, responded the following day that the “identified language is neither gratuitous nor unduly prejudicial because it is not offered to criticize or demean the President; rather, it is offered to explain Special Counsel Hur’s conclusions about the President’s state of mind in possessing and retaining classified information.”

The special counsel’s 388-page report ultimately included damning characterizations of the president’s mental acuity, calling him an “elderly man with a poor memory,” who could not remember when he finished his term as vice president or when his son, Beau, died.

“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” said Hur’s report. “We would conclude the same even if there was no policy against charging a sitting president.”

This was despite the fact that the special counsel “uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified information after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report said.






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