Garland Says Censoring Hur’s Biden Docs Report Would Have Been ‘Absurd’
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice Building on March 21, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Attorney General Merrick Garland rejected suggestions by critics that he should have altered Robert Hur‘s special counsel report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Garland dismissed the notion that someone in his position should have masked Hur’s description of Biden’s foggy memory while declining to pursue charges.

“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 the special counsel did — that’s absurd,” Garland said.

Hur’s report, which was released last month, criticized Biden’s retention of classified records following his service as a U.S. senator and vice president, but the prosecutor declined to recommend charges.

The report described Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” whom a jury likely would not convict “of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

Biden delivered remarks at the White House in response to the report, insisting that his memory was “fine” just moments before he mistakenly said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the president of Mexico.

POLITICO published a White House letter to Garland a day before the attorney general released Hur’s report, claiming some aspects “openly, obviously, and blatantly” violated Justice Department policy and practice.

During a congressional hearing earlier this month, Hur insisted that his “assessment in the report about the relevance of the president’s memory was necessary, and accurate, and fair.”


While facing claims of political bias from Democrats, Hur said regulations “required” him to write a confidential report explaining his decision-making to Garland.

But it was ultimately Garland’s call on how much of the report to release to the public in accordance with legal requirements and Department of Justice policy, Hur added.

Garland picked Hur, who served as a U.S. attorney in Maryland during the Trump administration, to lead the documents probe early last year.

When the investigation came to a close, Garland announced that he was “committed to making as much of the Special Counsel’s report public as possible, consistent with legal requirements and Department policy.”

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