All the Ways the White House Tried to Remove Mentions of Biden's Poor Memory from the Hur Report

AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File

Special Counsel Robert Hur is expected to testify before congress tomorrow, the first time he will have spoken publicly since the release of his report. In anticipation of that moment, the Washington Post published a lengthy story about tensions between the White House and the Justice Department. The gist of the article is simple. The White House is angry about the Hur report's discussion of Joe Biden's poor memory and also about the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden. Naturally all of these complaints come from unnamed White House sources. It doesn't matter, because they are offering the same tired talking points you've heard many times before.


What I found far more interesting was the list of ways in which the White House had tried and failed to change the report before it was made public. When the White House first got the finished reported they asked Hur to remove references to Biden's memory. Hur refused:

When Hur finished his 345-page report, he first sent it to Biden’s lawyers to review in person. The Biden team was permitted to request factual edits and to submit a response that was included in the final copy.

They asked Hur to consider removing the details about the president’s memory, but Hur refused, according to two people familiar with the communications.

After that, the report went to Bradley Weinsheimer, the DOJ's highest ranking official who is not a political appointee, for review. The White House sent him a letter making the same demands and accusing Hur of violating DOJ policies. Weinsheimer also refused to alter the report.

Weinsheimer had received a letter from Biden’s lawyers saying Hur’s report “blatantly violates Justice Department policy and practice.” He read the report and determined that the document was appropriate and contained nothing that violated agency regulations, according to officials familiar with the internal conversations.

Next the report went to AG Garland. Once again, the White House seems to have complained or at least the White House wanted him to demand edits. But once again, they didn't get what they wanted. Garland approved the report with no changes.


Some Biden aides wanted Garland to question the memory references when he reviewed the report, according to people familiar with the White House conversations, even though doing so would have meant notifying Congress that he had asked Hur for edits.

Garland reviewed what Hur’s team had written and agreed. He prepared to submit the report to Congress and then make it public with no redactions.

The Post says current and former DOJ officials agreed the references to Biden's memory were not out of line as they helped explain Hur's decision not to charge him. In short, anonymous DOJ officials say the anonymous White House officials are wrong. But the White is said to still "remain furious" over DOJ's decision not to protect their guy from criticism.

Because this is a story at the Post the comments are the usual dumpster fire of partisan rants about AG Garland not being political enough and Robert Hur being too political.

I'm sure we'll here a lot more about all of this tomorrow. But I think the takeaway here is that the White House tried their best to get the report rewritten to suit them and the Special Counsel, the top non-political appointed at DOJ and the AG himself all told them no. Plus, lots of other DOJ officials the Post spoke with agree they made the right decision. 


Nevertheless, the White House came out before the public with the same talking points that didn't convince anyone at the DOJ. No doubt tomorrow they'll do their best to destroy Robert Hur who has already resigned from the DOJ and is once again a private citizen. It should make for an interesting spectacle.

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