Joe Biden is fuming mad, and has told aides and outside advisers that Attorney General Merrick Garland didn't do enough to sanitize a special counsel's report which concluded that Biden is too cognitively diminished to face prosecution for mishandling classified documents.
As Politico reports;
Biden and his closest advisers believe Hur went well beyond his purview and was gratuitous and misleading in his descriptions, according to those two people, who were granted anonymity to speak freely. And they put part of the blame on Garland, who they say should have demanded edits to Hur’s report, including around the descriptions of Biden’s faltering memory.
The import of Hur's report, of course, is being seized and pounced upon by conservatives, as the obvious conclusion is that if Biden is too senile to face prosecution, he's too senile to be the president.
According to the report, Garland is finished - and wouldn't remain in his post for a possible second term.
"This has been building for a while," said an anonymous insider. "No one is happy."
And while the White House insists the DOJ isn't 'weaponized,' Biden in recent weeks has apparently grumbled to aides and advisers that had Garland simply moved sooner in his investigation into Donald Trump for election interference, a trial might already be underway - or even have concluded.
"I think Garland will be criticized by historians. We’ve had some terrific attorneys general and some not so good attorneys general. And I think he’s going to rank in the not so good," said Robert Shrum, a longtime consultant in the Democratic Party.
“Garland is far and away Biden’s worst appointee by an order of magnitude,” Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the liberal American Prospect. “And we all pay the price. If Biden goes down the drain because Garland has mishandled the investigation of Trump and gave Republicans a weapon … then the country pays the price. It’s not just that Biden gets punished for the stupidity of appointing Garland.” -Politico
That said, one former DOJ official suggested that frustrations at Garland are better directed at the White House - where the president's team could have asserted executive privilege over elements of Hur's report. Had Garland done so, he would have had to explain those redactions to Congress.
"The way in which the White House story kept changing at the outset made it much more difficult for the Justice Department to resist having a special counsel," said the former official, referring to the classified documents case. "Had there been a very clear story at the beginning, it would have been easier."
Meanwhile, following the report, medical professionals stepped up calls for Biden to take a mental competency test.
"The horse is out of the barn. Not only does [Biden] have an infirmity of some degree, but he has delayed producing objective evidence," said Dr. Stuart Fischer, a primary care physician at a nursing home in the Bronx, in a statement to the NY Post.
[A]ccording to Fischer, Biden has “signs of symptoms” that could indicate he suffers from “infectious disease or fatigue,” though the physician stressed that he is not Biden’s doctor and his statements did not constitute a diagnosis.
“I don’t know how this man can have anything more than a mild schedule,” added the doc, “because the more he pushes himself, the more difficult it is for an 81-year-old body to respond.”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a physician to both former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump and a member of the White House Medical Unit under President George W. Bush, told The Post that if Biden clinches the Democratic presidential nomination, he should “100%” have to submit to a mental competency test before the general election. -NY Post
Leading Democrats, meanwhile, are encouraging Biden to 'get out there' and show he's ok upstairs, Politico reports, writing that top party operatives are warning that he cannot retreat - and "want to see him engage with the press and voters in the off-script and punchy exchanges he’s been known for in the past, which they believe will help chip away at concerns about the president’s mental acuity."
Hiding the evidence
Following the Thursday release of Hur's report, Biden stormed out and gave an angry press conference denouncing its findings and insisting that he's got all his marbles - before mistakenly referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the President of Mexico, while trying to convey a story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In response, the White House unlisted the video from its YouTube feed for anyone who doesn't have a direct link.
🚨 BREAKING: The White House has now UNLISTED Joe Biden’s humiliating press conference from Thursday night, effectively hiding it from their page unless you have the direct link. pic.twitter.com/0EnxDXnmAS— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 10, 2024
So, here it is:
This is fine...
...Of course, the various experts and pundits who called for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment are notably silent this week, even after his own Justice Department cited his diminished faculties as a reason for not charging him.— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 10, 2024