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White House lawyers criticized Robert Hur’s report days before its release

By 37ci3 Feb16,2024

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden The legal team is disappointed by the special counsel’s findings and tone Report by Robert HurSeveral letters leaked Thursday between Biden’s lawyers and senior Justice Department officials show.

The key exchange of letters, seen by NBC News, came a day before the Justice Department released Hur’s report, which explained Hur’s decision not to prosecute Biden for his handling of classified documents after he left the vice presidency. oshelp Biden’s practices “present serious risks to national security.”

Letters reported first Washington Post and Politics.

The White House and a spokeswoman for Biden’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer, declined to comment.

In a three-page letter dated February 7, Bauer and White House counsel Edward Siskel objected to the final draft of Huron’s report, which they said “clearly, blatantly and openly” violated Justice Department policy and practice and violated the consensus on limits on the special counsel. reports.

On February 7, the letter was addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland while the White House counsel was reviewing the special counsel’s final draft on executive privilege issues.

It alleges that other presidents have “done exactly the same thing” by keeping classified information at home after serving.

“Thus, criticizing President Biden for an unindicted practice that his predecessors have publicly engaged in, that the Justice Department has admitted to in the past and refused to investigate, exemplifies the reasons for the bipartisan consensus. replace previous reporting function,” they wrote.

Biden’s legal team later argued that Huron’s criticism of Biden “mirrors” the “inappropriate prosecutorial criticism” of former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of classified material in 2016 by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose handling of classified material resulted in no charges.

“Criticism of uncharged conduct by FBI and DOJ officials during investigations into the 2016 election was found to violate ‘the department’s long-standing practice and protocol,'” they wrote.

The letter also objected to “unprovoked and unwarranted” “defamatory statements” about Biden’s memorial.

“The special counsel can definitely and correctly note that the President has no memory of a specific fact or series of events,” they wrote, adding that Huron’s claim that Biden’s memory failed more broadly “does not serve a law enforcement purpose.”

The attorneys also say Hur left out “crucial context” about Biden’s October interview with Hur, a day after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, when Biden was dealing with a “severe international crisis.”

The Justice Department responded by defending Huron’s report, including in the hours before the Biden memo was published.

A Feb. 8 letter signed by a senior Justice Department official, Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer, made clear that the Justice Department has not violated any departmental policies or engaged in any inappropriate behavior.

“The context in which this information was used in the report makes it consistent with Department policy and the Special Counsel’s regulations,” he said.

“The language at issue is neither gratuitous nor unduly prejudicial because it is not intended to criticize or disparage the President; rather, it is intended to explain Special Counsel Huron’s views on the President’s possession and retention of classified information,” the letter added. .

The Justice Department’s letter went on to claim that the report did not include inappropriate comments about uncharged conduct, saying instead that such a disclosure had “substantial law enforcement interests, including ensuring the integrity of the investigation and the public’s knowledge of the criminal case.” – is allowed if it is proposed. there is a great need to know the information.”

“For these reasons, the inclusion of the specified language in the report and the report itself are consistent with the Department’s public disclosure standards,” he said. criminal laws. This is near the top of public interest. The report and its publication, including the language specified, are consistent with Department policy and practice.”

The Justice Department also declined to name Comey, calling the comparison “incompetent.”

“Former Director Comey was not a special counsel, prosecutor, or department official approved or approved to announce the recusal decision,” Weinsheimer wrote.

NBC News there are reported Huron is expected to testify before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee on March 12, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

There are also several Republican leaders in the House of Representatives He asked Garland for a full transcript Biden’s interview with the special counsel in October will help them determine whether the evidence supports the drafting of articles of impeachment against Biden, he said.

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By 37ci3

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