As long as he is being called senile, Joe Biden would perhaps have preferred to be accused of illegal possession of secret documents.
A bit like this Quebec judge arrested for simple shoplifting, and who pleaded temporary insanity 30 years ago. The defense worked, but it was the end of his career.
The report by independent prosecutor Robert Hur, released Thursday, is favorable to Joe Biden almost across the board. Yes, he illegally retained secret documents during his time as Vice President of the United States (remember, Mr. Biden: that was from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017).
But he seems to have done it in good faith, to document his own career, and not with malicious intent. The documents were in his garage, unprotected, indicating a rather innocent intent. Above all, Joe Biden himself disclosed their presence, cooperated fully with the investigation and gave investigators unlimited access to all of his property.
There is no basis to accuse him of anything.
If we stop the analysis here, we see the contrast with Donald Trump: the authorities asked the billionaire several times to return the numerous secret documents that he had taken with him. The FBI demanded it repeatedly, before having to search its buildings. Trump lied about their presence. His lawyer too. Its staff concealed part of the documents. Etc.
To the point that Trump was charged in criminal court – this is one of his four criminal cases.
The problem for Biden is that the independent prosecutor did not stop his analysis at this advantageous comparison.
After saying there was no basis to charge Biden, the prosecutor added this (my translation): “We also considered the fact that at trial Mr. Biden would likely appear before the jury of the the same way he did during our interrogation with him, like a friendly, good-willed elderly person with a bad memory. »
These observations are not at all the focus of the analysis. This is an addition, an additional argument: even if we decided to accuse Joe Biden, “it would be difficult to convince a jury to convict a former president in his late eighties of a serious crime which involves a state mental capable of this intention.
As if that wasn’t enough, the prosecutor noted that responses to questions were “painfully slow,” even in interrogations dating back to 2017. And worse, during the fall 2023 interview, Biden showed several memory problems – about the exact years of his vice presidency, the year his son Beau died, etc.
This is no longer a photo of an honest president; This is the portrait of Grandpa Biden.
Democrats counterattacked Friday by saying that Attorney Hur is tied to Republicans — he served as a Supreme Court “clerk” for former conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist, among others. Many people also criticize the prosecutor for these unnecessary, even mean-spirited, comments.
But these protests will only convince the Democrats. These few killer sentences in an official and “independent” investigation report have just put Joe Biden’s greatest weakness since 2020 at the center of the debate: his age.
Biden has been known to stumble through his own sentences for at least 40 years. But what passed for a serious speech problem at 45 is associated with cognitive decline at 81 – he will be 82 in November, a record.
Although we may praise its record, which is solid in several respects, its mere physical presence evokes fragility. Will he fall? Will he be wrong? How will this sentence end?
In the same press conference where he cognitively defended himself, he confused the Egyptian and Mexican presidents. A week after talking about Mitterrand (1916-1996…) instead of Macron.
Two days earlier, at Saturday Night LiveNikki Haley made a joke about Trump and Biden by quoting the film The sixth sense : I see dead people. Meaning: these two guys are going to die.
When Biden confused Macron and Mitterrand, she picked up the gag by writing about X what is probably the “line” of the week: I see dead people (I see dead people)…
Is Biden mentally fit to govern the greatest economic and military power? The question is crucial. But nine months before the presidential election, the problem is not psychiatric. He is political. In every press briefing between now and D-Day, we will be able to legitimately test the state of Biden’s brain.
Same thing for Trump? Yes and no. Trump’s opponents want to present him as confused, aging. But at 77 years old, the former president still gives off an incredible impression of physical strength and endurance. It is not so much his cognitive decline that is attacked, but his personality.
It’s not just a question of age. It’s also a question of style and perception. Not all 81 year olds are equal in this regard.
But it’s still a question of age. After age 80, the burden of proof is on the shoulders of the candidate.
The Democrats don’t have much time to demonstrate that their candidate is anything other than a kind but slightly lost grandfather. They won’t be able to half-hide it like in 2020, due to the pandemic. It will have to be exposed. Putting it to the test.
Is it President Biden or Grandpa Biden?
Otherwise, you’ll need a plan B, and quickly…