The response from the White House and Joe Biden's re-election campaign has been a class in what not to do in damage control.
The Hur report concluded that Joe Biden will not be charged for mishandling classified documents for forty years. It's not because he is innocent, he is not, it is because he is an old man who suffers from memory loss. Special Counsel Hur's report said that a jury would likely not find him guilty, instead, seeing him as a nice old man who becomes confused. In other words, a jury would likely be too sympathetic to convict Biden.
What the Hur report did was surprise the president and his staff by pointing out instances where Biden was unable to recall some basic facts, like the years when he was vice president and when his son, Beau, died. Hur's revelations were shocking, to say the least.
Biden "willingly retained" classified documents from his time in the Senate and as vice president. He shared documents with a ghostwriter who was helping him write a memoir. The documents were not stored properly, including the discovery of boxes left exposed in the garage of one of his homes in Delaware. During the pandemic, Hunter Biden stayed in the home. He had access to the boxes if he wanted it.
Joe Biden and the White House quickly took a victory lap, emphasizing the fact that there would be no charges coming forward against Biden. Biden released a statement and the White House communication office responded with happy talk. Biden was not exonerated, as he claimed.
The part of the Hur report that captured attention was the description of Biden's mental acuity. It indicates he is not capable of being the leader of the free world. Hur's report is scary and may lead us to a constitutional crisis.
Biden's people pushed him out to do a press conference on Thursday night to try to show he's fine, he's up to the job. It was a disaster.
Biden is furious at Attorney General Merrick Garland for not editing the Hur report. Garland appointed Hur, a Trump appointee, as the special counsel in this case. Biden has decided to not redact any of the report to keep the public from reading the whole report.
"We notified the Justice Department at approximately 9:00 this morning that our privilege review has concluded," White House Counsel's Office spokesperson Ian Sams said. "In keeping with his commitment to cooperation and transparency throughout this investigation, the President declined to assert privilege over any portion of the report."
I don't think it is going out on a limb to predict that Garland's days as attorney general are numbered. Reports are that Biden is angry that Trump's trials are not underway and potentially keeping him from winning the presidency. Biden has shown he wants to use lawfare against his competition.
In White House meetings, aides have questioned why Garland felt the need to appoint a special counsel in the first place, though Biden has publicly said he supported the decision.
While Biden himself has not weighed in on Garland’s future, most of the president’s senior advisers do not believe that the attorney general would remain in his post for a possible second term, according to the two people.
So, now what is Team Biden to do? It seems that they have decided to flip the narrative and gaslight voters about Trump's mental acuity and his ability to carry out the duties of the president. A staffer who was fired for bullying a female reporter has begun the strategy.
Biden-Harris advisor TJ Ducklo -who resigned from a White House job in 2021 over a bullying scandal - said: 'Every single time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he's confused, deranged, lying, or worse.'
'Tonight, he lied more than two dozen times, slurred his words, confused basic facts, and placated the gun lobby weeks after telling parents to 'get over it' after their kids were gunned down at school.
'But you won't hear about any of it if you watch cable news, read this weekend's papers, or watch the Sunday shows.
'Beltway reporters may be numb to Trump's horrifying candidacy defined by chaos, division, and violence - but the American people are the ones who will suffer and die if he's allowed anywhere near the Oval Office again.'
What could go wrong? Trump is not campaigning vigorously right now because the primary is still going on. He is also wrapped up in legal battles, which is how Democrats fixed it for him to try to keep him out of the White House again. Yet, Trump keeps a full schedule, holds campaign events, and is going about the primary process. Joe Biden is spending 40% of his presidency taking time off and staying outside of the White House.
Joe Biden is old. There is nothing that anyone can do about that. How about slapping on more makeup and using better lighting when Biden delivers speeches? Yeah, that's an idea being batted around.
Democrat insiders have also claimed more time working on makeup and lighting could help ease concerns about his age, according to CNN. They've urged aides to have him sat down at the start of appearances, rather than letting him shuffle onto stage stiffly - and to stop claiming the president merely suffers from arthritis.
It's too late for all of that. The cat is out of the bag. We see Biden with our own eyes. We have seen his deterioration in office, both mentally and physically. His people have changed the kind of shoes he wears to try to prevent falls and has gone to using the short stairs on Air Force One whenever possible. Other than putting him in the basement until election day, there isn't much they can do.