Lawyer who questioned Biden's memory denies comments were 'unfairly disparaging'

Neither side, Republican nor Democrat, have a lot of love for Robert Hur. And that showed in some pretty tough questioning. ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore reports

The lawyer who questioned Joe Biden's mental competence as part of a report into the US president's handling of classified documents has denied his comments unfairly disparaged him.

Special counsel Robert Hur defended his assessment of President Biden, over more than four hours of questioning before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

He told US lawmakers his 345-page report was based on what the "evidence shows, and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe".

Mr Hur's appearance before the committee comes after the publication of a report last month, in which he looked into President Biden's possession of sensitive material in his garage while he was a private citizen.

Mr Hur, despite finding some evidence which suggested the US president had willingly retained classified records, said it did not meet the bar for a prosecution.

In the report, he described Biden, who is 81, as a "sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory" - comments which both Democrats and Republicans have taken issue with ahead of the 2024 Presidential Election.

A number of Republicans have voiced their disapproval at Mr Hur's decision not to bring criminal charges against Biden, arguing Donald Trump has been unfairly vicitimised by prosecutors over a separate probe into his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House.

Democrats, meanwhile, say Mr Hur's comments paint an unfair picture of Biden and his ability to run for a second term as president.

Mr Hur, speaking before the House Judiciary Committee, said he did not "sanitise" his rationale for the report, adding: "Nor did I disparage the president unfairly."

Robert Hur said his report was based on what the 'evidence shows'. Credit: AP

Biden has acknowledged that he held onto his personal diaries - which officials said contained classified information - but insisted they are his own property.

Democrats have also argued that there are key differences between Biden and Trump's cases, contrasting the former's cooperation with investigators with that of Trump - who is accused of enlisting the help of aides and lawyers to conceal documents which he held at his Mar-a-Lago estate, in Florida.

However, Republicans have criticised the report as a "glaring double standard", with California's Republican Representative, Tom McClintock, telling Mr Hur: "Donald Trump's being prosecuted for exactly the same act that you documented Joe Biden committed."

Trump himself labelled Tuesday's hearing as a "big day in Congress for the Biden Documents Hoax", adding: "The DOJ (Department of Justice) gave Biden, and virtually every other person and President, a free pass."

Biden was first interviewed by Mr Hur last October, and went on to reveal that he left it to his staff to safeguard classified information that was presented to him.

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