President Biden was described as a 'well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory' in a Justice Department report, ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore reports from Washington
Last night in Washington we witnessed a political drama worthy of the volcanic Trump years.
A president incandescent with rage giving a late-night address to the nation. A Special Counsel's report that was politically devastating.
Opponents declaring that the president is no longer fit for office.
What made the reaction so remarkable was that Robert Hur, the special prosecutor, had decided not to press charges against President Joe Biden. But he did something almost as damaging.
He took direct aim at the greatest political vulnerability that Biden faces - his age, along with grave doubts among voters about the president's mental agility.
Hur wrote that he wouldn't charge Biden with mishandling secrets because he was a "well meaning, elderly man with a poor memory" and suffered "diminishing faculties in advancing age."
This isn't an elderly neighbour Hur was describing. But the president of the United States - a leader with potentially another five years left in office.
Compounding the sense of fury in the White House was the report's wounding assertion that Biden couldn't even remember the date of his son's death or the years he had been vice president.
That led to a car-crash of a hastily-arranged primetime televised address from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.
Biden angrily rejected Robert Hur's report that he had knowingly mishandled secret documents, even though there was a box crammed with classified information stored in his Delaware garage.
It was a furious performance by Biden, snapping at reporters. If he had stopped then, judgements might not have been too harsh.
But having walked away from the podium, Biden then returned and - excruciatingly for his staff - haltingly spoke about the Middle East. Misspeaking, Biden declared that el-Sisi, the Egyptian leader, was the Mexican president.
With those few words, instead of overcoming the concerns about his cognitive decline, Biden validated his critics and gave his opponents ammunition all the way to election day.
The Speaker of the House declared on Twitter/X that Biden was no longer fit for office.
And Donald Trump joined the bandwagon, railing against what he called a two-tiered justice system.
Americans now have the prospect of two presidential candidates, one facing numerous criminal charges, the other credibly assessed to have significant cognitive issues, battling it out for nine months.
Voters may well be asking: How on earth did it come to this?
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