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Attorney General Merrick Garland says it would’ve been ‘absurd’ to block special counsel’s language on Biden’s memory

Attorney General Merrick Garland says it would've been 'absurd' to block special counsel's language on Biden's memory
Attorney General Merrick Garland pushed back Thursday on criticism from White House officials and others who argued he should not have let special counsel Robert Hur use language claiming that President Joe Biden suffers from memory loss in his report on the president’s handing of classified documents.

In his report, Hur described the president’s memory as “significantly limited” during interviews with the special counsel’s office last year as well as with a ghostwriter who worked on Biden’s memoirs.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Garland was asked about the criticism of him and said no one from the White House had expressed it to him.

“When the president announced my nomination, he said to me directly and then to the American public that he intended to restore the independence and the integrity of the Justice Department and that he wanted me to serve as the lawyer for the American people, not the lawyer for the president,” Garland said. “I sincerely believe that that’s what he intended then, and I sincerely believe that that’s what he intends now.”

Pressed on whether he thinks Hur used appropriate language to characterize the president’s mental state, Garland said he has remained committed to making reports from special counsels public — emphasizing that doing so is “consistent” with regulations and precedents that require a special counsel to fully disclose the rationale behind their decisions.

Garland then pushed back on the idea that an attorney general should step in to change the language in a special counsel’s report.

“The idea that an attorney general would edit or redact or censor, the special counsel’s explanation for why the special counsel reached the decision that special counsel did? That’s absurd,” he said.

Hur came under fire from the White House and Democrats in response to his report last month on Biden’s handling of classified documents at his home and personal office after he was vice president. Hur declined to prosecute the president, but said in his report that Biden’s practices in storing the classified documents “present serious risks to national security” and that the president had presented himself “as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” during interviews with investigators.

Republicans were quick to seize on Hur’s descriptions of Biden’s mental fitness.

Biden vehemently defended himself against Hur’s claims that he suffers from memory loss, telling reporters shortly after the release of the special counsel’s report, “My memory’s fine.”

This article was originally published on

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