The special counsel investigating President Joe Biden’s handling of classified material said in a report released on Thursday that no criminal charges were warranted against Biden, even though he willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his time as vice president.
The investigation was led by Special Counsel Robert Hur, a Trump-era U.S. attorney who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” the report’s executive summary began. “We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”
“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report continued. “These materials included (1) marked classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, and (2) notebooks containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods. FBI agents recovered these materials from the garage, offices, and basement den in Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home.”
The report said that marked classified documents about Afghanistan, which included classification markings up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information level, were found in Biden’s garage in Delaware. Notebooks containing classified information were discovered in the basement den of Biden’s Delaware home. Some of the classified documents that were found at the Biden Penn Center were intelligence assessments on Iran and were related to the Obama administration’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. Classified documents were also found at the University of Delaware, where Biden was storing his records from his time in the U.S. Senate, that appear to be related to Europe and his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The report argued that prosecutors did not believe the evidence was sufficient to charge to Biden because jurors would find reasonable doubt for potentially several reasons ranging from Biden’s “authority to keep classified documents in his home” to serious memory issues that the special counsel documented.
Prosecutors documented numerous instances in which Biden struggled to remember basic details about events, including during a 2017 recorded interview with a ghostwriter that he shared classified material with.
“Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023,” the report said in its executive summary. “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.