Special counsel who questioned Biden’s memory to testify at House hearing


WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to keep a spotlight on President Joe Biden’s age, House Republicans will hold a public hearing next month with the Justice Department special counsel who found evidence that the president had mishandled classified information when he was out of office but who also concluded that criminal charges were not warranted.

The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by conservative firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will hold a hearing with special counsel Robert Hur on March 12, according to two people familiar with the plans who spoke anonymously to discuss the yet-to-be-announced hearing.

The White House declined to comment on the plans.

The committee has spearheaded much of the House GOP’s investigations into Biden, including the effort to impeach him. While that effort has floundered, Republicans want to hear from Hur after his report last week offered an unflattering assessment of Biden’s competency and age.

The report described the 81-year-old Democrat’s memory as “poor” and having “significant limitations.”

The president has angrily pushed back on that account and said his memory is fine.

The hearing is sure to spill into a political spectacle as House Republicans have consistently sought to use hearings to punch holes in Biden’s political weaknesses. Voters are already worried about Biden’s age and competency heading into an election where he is likely to face the 77-year-old Donald Trump, the former Republican president who is the clear front-runner for his party’s nomination.

Hur, who was appointed under Trump to be the U.S. attorney in Maryland, found some evidence suggesting that Biden had willfully retained classified information as a private citizen but said the evidence was not strong enough for a prosecution. In ruling out bringing a criminal case, he cited the possibility that Biden would present himself to a jury as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Prior to the release of Hur’s report, the White House and Biden’s personal attorneys objected to the characterization by the special counsel in letters to Hur and Attorney General Merrick Garland, according to two people familiar with the letters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them.

“His report goes further to include allegations that the President has a failing memory in a general sense, an allegation that has no law enforcement purpose,” the attorneys wrote to Garland, who appointed Hur to the role. “A global and pejorative judgment on the President’s powers of recollection in general is uncalled for and unfounded.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson this week said at a news conference, “A man too incapable of being held accountable for mishandling classified information is certainly unfit for the Oval Office.”

Trump is facing criminal charges that he mishandled classified documents. Trump has bragged about his own memory, but at certain times in legal proceedings said he does not recall certain events.

AP writer Zeke Miller contributed

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