In declining to recommend charges against Joe Biden, the report into his mishandling of official documents does him no favours. He’s not worth prosecuting, to put it bluntly, because he doesn’t know if he’s Arthur or Martha. Rather more diplomatically, the findings examine at some length the defences he might use were the matter to proceed to court — “a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory”. They are talking about an unmoored American president drifting through memory failures, fantasies and confusions.
He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him.
Among other things, he mistakenly said he “had a real difference” of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama. In a case where the government must prove that Mr. Biden knew he had possession of the classified Afghanistan documents after the vice presidency and chose to keep those documents, knowing he was violating the law, we expect that at trial, his attorneys would emphasize these limitations in his recall.
An official note that Biden is stumbling through his dotage is one embarrassment. His handling of classified is another:
Subject to the limitations discussed in Chapter Two, classification authorities identified each excerpt as containing presently classified information. :i~:3 Of the thirty-seven excerpts:
• 111 Eight are Top Secret with Sensitive Compartmented Information, seven of which include information concerning human intelligence sources,
• Six are Top Secret, 111 Twenty-one are Secret, and
• Two are Confidential.
And here’s something else we’re likely to see referenced quite a bit over the next few days.