Home News Hur-say by the special counsel: Robert Hur show obscures the real takeaways

Hur-say by the special counsel: Robert Hur show obscures the real takeaways



Hours of testimony by Robert Hur — the former special counsel appointed to investigate President Biden’s retention of classified documents following his vice presidency — before the House Judiciary Committee predictably revealed little new.

Like many such recent hearings, it was intended not for fact-finding or accountability but pure theater. To GOP Judiciary chair and enthusiastic Donald Trump lackey Jim Jordan’s chagrin, some wind was taken out of the spectacle’s sails by the release of the transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden.

Some observers characterized the session as seeing attacks on Hur coming from both sides of the aisle, but it must be noted that these criticisms are not at all equivalent. Democrats went after Hur on the legitimate grounds that the special counsel injected irrelevant pseudo-medical analysis into his report, and stretched the truth in his attempts to portray the president as a doddering old man.

Republicans, for their part, were irate that Hur had not stretched the truth enough, stopping short of the manufactured criminal charges that they had depended on as a political tool for the presidential election.

Did Biden have lapses during the hours of interviews with the special counsel? Absolutely. Biden has a clear forgetful streak and struggled occasionally to bring things to mind in the moment. Were these visions into an unraveling mind, beset by the ravages of age? Not at all.

The bulk of the hiccups had to do with recollection of specific years, which is not a particularly unusual thing to forget for a species that tends to think of things in intervals. If someone asked you point blank about some life event more than five years past, could you identify the year without hesitation? What about under oath, in an adversarial interview with a prosecutor who could charge you with federal crimes?

All this circus is a distraction from the main takeaway here, which is that a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney and clerk for some of the most conservative federal judges in recent memory — including late Chief Justice William Rehnquist — who might want a judicial or administrative appointment under a second Trump term, was unable to find a basis to charge Biden with a crime despite herculean efforts.

Hur’s attempts to paint the president as on the verge of senility are refuted not only by the transcripts but the plain reality of Biden’s recent public appearances, including a forceful State of the Union address where he parried hecklers, which wasn’t in any script.

Compare that to Trump, who is under federal indictment for repeated, flagrant attempts to retain and hide classified material — as opposed to Biden’s clear efforts to comply with investigators — and has made a habit of forgetting, mid-speech, who he has run against, where he is, who world leaders are and other simple facts. He recently forgot the end date of his own presidency, which came much more recently than Biden’s vice presidency.

It’s one more step in the GOP’s journey towards false equivalency and desire to use the levers of government for political ends as the party’s core policies get more extreme and less popular. Let it be one more lesson for Democrats that engaging in good faith will never be enough to satisfy the MAGA wing.

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