It's long past time for Congress to act to investigate the arguable incapacitation of the president.
For the past three years, Americans knew what Democrats refused to admit -- that Joe Biden had entered a cognitive decline that rendered him unfit for office. Democrats and the media insisted that Biden still had energy and vigor, even while every public appearance added evidence to the contrary.
Voters had to rely on their own eyes to reach their conclusions that Biden's aphasiac mumbling, stiffness, and repeatedly false recollections indicated that Biden was clearly unfit for office. In poll after poll, majorities of respondents complain that Biden is too old for a second term -- and yet Democrats never bothered to offer their own voters a serious choice.
Robert Hur exposed the three-year cover-up by the White House, Democrats, and media in his Special Counsel report. Thanks to long-standing Department of Justice doctrine from the (unrelated) Office of Special Counsel, sitting presidents cannot be indicted by the DoJ or its special counsels. That doctrine goes back to Watergate and was formalized in 2000. (This came up repeatedly in the Mueller probe.)
Rather than just leave it at that, Hur opted to warn that the DoJ couldn't convict Biden even if indicted, because he lacks the mental competence to demonstrate a mens rea (criminal intent) beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, this isn't news to American voters; Biden had on three occasions this week alone told Democrat donors that he'd spoken with two foreign leaders during his presidency that had died years before he took office (François Mitterand and Helmut Kohl). Both of the deceased hadn't been in office for decades before Biden's inauguration.
The White House and Democrats went on offense yesterday to push back against Hur's damning report -- and fell right into the same trap. Once again, they rallied to tell the American people not to believe their own eyes, and even more stupidly, pushed Biden on stage for a late presser. As Karen noted earlier, Biden somehow put Mexico on Gaza's border and kept shouting angrily when questioned by the media at his own presser. Biden at one point stomped off and then had to return to add something he'd forgotten to address about the situation in Gaza, which he called "over the top," a phrase that left everyone wondering who he meant in that criticism:
We could always ask the president of Mexico for a clarification.— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) February 9, 2024
Biden's legal team wants to extend the dispute, too:
White House special counsel Richard Sauber disagreed with “a number of inaccurate and inappropriate comments” in the report and wrote in a separate letter to Hur on Feb. 5 that the report’s treatment of Biden’s memory wasn’t “accurate or appropriate” and used “highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall or years-old events.”
Sauber asked that Hur’s team revisit and revise the report’s descriptions of the president’s memory. He also noted that the report didn’t mention that the interview began the day after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and said Biden was conducting calls with world leaders and his national-security team in the lead-up.
They might have been better advised to let it slide. This makes the situation constitutionally untenable. And the only way to resolve it is to open up the interview transcripts and settle the question.
A special counsel appointed by the president's own Attorney General has given strong evidence of cognitive impairment in the president, to the point where Hur has to conclude that a court would find him incapable of responsibility for the "willful" crimes he committed. If that's the case, then Biden cannot competently execute the duties of his office. And if Biden's Cabinet will not address this through the constitutional remedies provided by the 25th Amendment, then Congress has to address it through its own constitutional remedies.
First, the House must start its own investigation. That can start with House Oversight or House Judiciary, either of which has jurisdiction over this issue. Since the White House denies Hur's characterization of Biden's conduct and cognition in these interviews, the very first step to resolving the dispute is to subpoena the transcripts of Biden's interviews with Special Counsel investigators and with his ghostwriter in 2017. If audio or video tapes exist of these interviews, all the better.
Let Congress see what Hur and his team saw. Let us also see it and decide whether Hur lied about Biden's cognitive decline into incompetence, or whether the White House has lied all along about the doddering elderly man everyone else sees. And if it turns out that Hur's correct, then Congress must act to relieve that doddering elderly man from his office -- and start investigating the people around him for lying to the American public about his capacity to fulfill the constitutional duties of the office.
Update: I forgot to add in the new episode of The Ed Morrissey Show podcast! Today's show features:
- Will the Kansas City Chiefs have its good-luck charm on hand for the Super Bowl?
- Andrew Malcolm and I have fun discussing Taylor Swift's impact on the NFL, but we're a lot more frustrated with the none-too-swift House Republicans this week.
- We also discuss the disgrace of Joe Biden's abandonment of US allies in Afghanistan -- not to mention American citizens and legal permanent residents,too.
- And we note that the media treats it as a "not to mention" story as well.