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White House questions why special counsel report ‘spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms’

The White House raised questions Friday over why special counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Biden’s handling of classified documents included comments about his memory.

“When the inevitable conclusion is that the facts and the evidence don’t support any charges, you’re left to wonder why this report spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms of the president,” Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office, said, as part of the administration’s fierce pushback on the criticisms.

Sams, during a rare appearance in the White House briefing room, also called the characterizations in the report “wrong” and “inaccurate” and argued that the “facts and evidence refute the theories that are floated.”

Hur’s report concluded Biden retained classified documents from his time as vice president and a senator, but Hur declined to bring any charges. The report also offered a stark assessment of the 81-year-old’s memory and abilities to recall information.

Additionally, Sams argued that the general public will understand that Hur’s report included inappropriate comments.

“I think the public is smart, I think they can see what is going on,” he said.

“I think they can understand, you know, when people… make comments that they shouldn’t make and are beyond the remit of a prosecutor to do, I think they understand that,” Sams added. “I think they understand that … the president did the right thing here.”

Vice President Harris on Friday slammed the report, calling it “politically motivated” and “gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate.” And, Biden’s own attorneys have also dismissed the report as “gratuitous” in its focus on his age. 

Sams reiterated Biden’s comments made during a press conference on Thursday night that he “fully cooperated” with the investigation and that he spoke to the special counsel while dealing with the war in the Middle East.

The interview started the day after the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel. When questioned why Biden didn’t postpone the interview because he was busy, Sams said, “the president was going to commit to being corporative.”

Sams also claimed that the special counsel remarked at the time that he knew the president was dealing with a lot at the beginning of their interview.

Biden, in his remarks Thursday, angrily defended his memory and lashed out at the special counsel for including information about his memory during interviews.

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