Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Opinion: Will that special counsel report light a fire under Biden the Elderly?


Of course, Special Counsel Robert Hur absolved President Biden of any criminality related to keeping classified documents after his vice presidency. But was the Republican lawyer nonetheless seeking a federal judgeship from a future Republican president – ​​say, a re-elected and grateful Donald Trump – with the investigator? report Did he come out on Thursday?

Hur, a Trump appointee and a member of the Federalist Society, hardly seems to be “audition” for judicial appointment by concluding that “no criminal charges are warranted” against Biden and that there are no parallels with Trump’s alleged crimes involving classified information. Except Hur’s exoneration of Biden was all but lost in the focus on his crudely gratuitous rants about the president’s age and “diminished faculties” during Biden’s five hours of testimony before investigators.

Opinion columnist

Jackie Calmes

Jackie Calmes brings a critical perspective to the national political scene. She has decades of experience covering the White House and Congress.

Hur is too smart and politically astute not to have anticipated the headlines: “Old man with bad memory,” yelled the cover page of the Murdochs’ New York Post, citing the special prosecutor’s report.

The report was a gift to Trump and his Republican colleagues, directly attacking Biden’s biggest weakness among voters: their doubts about the octogenarian’s ability to continue getting the job done. Hur acknowledged on the first page of the report that after a year of investigation, investigators were lacking evidence to file charges against the president for deliberately withholding and sharing classified information. That should have been the end.

Instead, Hur also justified not filing charges because “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview, as an elderly, friendly, well-meaning man, with a bad memory.

By adding this politically charged comment, Hur violated Justice Department “just the facts” protocols, as he also should have known given the Comey precedent: In 2018, the Justice Department Inspector General criticized then-FBI Director James B. Comey for criticizing Hillary Clinton as she ran for president against Trump, calling her “extremely negligent” in handling classified documents, even as Comey announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against her.

What an irony: Trump is once again supported by the Justice Department, which he and the Republicans believe is using the government as a weapon against him.

Trump immediately issued a fundraising email viewing the report as proof that Biden is even “unfit to stand trial.” (Unlike himself, who is fighting four indictments and 91 criminal charges?) Echoing Trump as usual, House Republican leaders in a joint declaration called Biden “unfit for the Oval Office.” (It was rich, after their own very bad week Government incompetence has shown once again that these “legislators” are not fit to serve in Congress.)

The Republicans would be crazy not to exploit Hur’s words for political purposes. We’ll see and hear them in Trump’s political ads and speeches between now and November.

But Biden, in these same months, can fight back. The damage is done, Democrats. Get over it and move on.

Surrogates can help, attesting to the president’s fitness in their private dealings with him. (Last fall, Politico reported (that since-deposed President Kevin McCarthy privately told his Republican allies that Biden was “sharp and substantial” in their conversations, even as McCarthy publicly mocked the president as a dork.)

But Biden’s turnaround ultimately requires to show and say. Only he can show skeptical voters that he stays in the loop. The president can’t get any younger, but he can do much more to face the public and let Americans judge for themselves.

To this end, Biden was right to talk on camera in prime time Thursday, as news of Hur’s report spread, and to forcefully counter it. Yes, it was shocking that he confused Egypt’s president with Mexico’s, but Trump recently called the Hungarian leader the leader of Turkey and blend Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi seven times in a fake rant about January 6th.

Biden was wrong to have decreases for a second year, the somewhat traditional invitation, this year from CBS, to be interviewed during the Super Bowl pregame show. “We hope viewers enjoy watching what they listened to: the game,” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told Variety. OK, many viewers run to the refrigerator when the president appears on screen. But that still leaves a large and diverse audience of tens of millions to see Biden with his spirit.

To be fair, Biden is traveling the country meeting with voters and pitching plans made possible by the laws he signed. But he had fewer press conferences than any president of the last century except Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Too often, it seems like Biden is in a cocoon run by his staff, allowing critics and supporters to infer that he is protected from public gaffes. But which is worse, Biden’s gaffes or Trump’s incessant lies?

Only Biden can demonstrate the mastery of foreign and domestic affairs that he possesses, thanks to his decades of public service. And to show he must.

This is how he can be re-elected. And if he does, it will mean four more years without a Republican president to appoint Robert Hur to the federal judgeship.

@jackiekcalmes





Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.latimes.com

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