A special counsel report released on Thursday confirmed President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents “present[s] serious risks to national security,” but the 81 year old will not be prosecuted because he would likely be seen by a jury as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”
The scathing assessment of Biden’s mental acuity sent shockwaves through the political world and led the president to hold a hastily called press conference on Thursday night at which he attempted to defend his ability to do his job.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Ben Shapiro, host of The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro Show, to discuss the special counsel report and what it means for Biden.
The Special Counsel Report
Special counsel Robert Hur released his 388-page report on Thursday after a year of investigating. He came out of retirement in January 2023 at the behest of Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into Biden’s handling of classified documents as vice president.
The probe was triggered after Biden’s personal attorneys found classified documents from the Obama administration at Biden’s personal office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Boxes of documents were also found haphazardly stored in the garage at Biden’s Delaware home.
The report states that the “investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” though the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
As part of the investigation, Biden sat for a voluntary two-day interview with Hur last October. Hur’s report highlighted alarming details about the conversations, including that the president’s memory “was significantly limited.”
Additionally, Hur said Biden’s recall was “worse” with him than it was in recorded conversations with ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer from 2017. “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’),” the report said. “He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.”
All of this led Hur to conclude that a jury would not be able to determine he willfully committed a crime. “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the report said. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
The Press Conference
In the wake of the report, the White House scheduled a last minute press conference. The president gave a brief address from the White House around 8pm ET and then took a barrage of questions from reporters regarding his age and memory.
He appeared angry and indignant during the remarks and said Hur’s description of his mental acuity did not belong in the report. “I’m well-meaning and I’m an elderly man and I know what the hell I’m doing,” he told reporters. “I’ve been president, I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation.”
While he reiterated that his memory is “fine,” he did make a mistake when speaking about the Israel-Hamas war. Biden referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the “president of Mexico.”
The entire ordeal led Democratic ‘sources’ to call it the “the worst day of his presidency” and a “brutal” series of events. The New York Times deemed the address and subsequent Q&A a “political disaster.”
Shapiro, meanwhile, dubbed Thursday night’s event “the Challenger explosion of press conferences” and the “worst” he’s ever seen. “The entire purpose of the presser was to dissuade Americans that the special counsel was right about his state of mind and his mental acuity,” he said. “The first minute and a half he is reading off the teleprompter, and then he starts to pretty obviously fall apart.”
In Megyn’s view, the combination of Hur’s report and Biden’s performance made it clear that “it’s definitely tapioca and Matlock time.” But she wondered if the president was, in some ways, being set up to fail. “One of the questions I had as I watched it last night was: Is this intentional,” she shared. “Because when have we seen him out there dealing with the press on his own without a handler – whether it’s the Easter Bunny or an actual press communications person – managing how many questions, wrapping him, getting him off stage?”
Instead, Biden “was out there alone” at an hour that is well past when the White House usually calls a lid. “So, it did make me wonder: Is this him overruling the staff,” Megyn asked. “Or is this the staff saying ‘go right ahead’ because they realize there’s an obligation to let the country see what’s happening.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Shapiro by tuning in to episode 721 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.