This week Special Counsel Robert K. Hur, assigned to investigate allegations that President Biden had mishandled classified documents, reported that he believed that while Biden had indeed illegally taken classified documents, he was too forgetful to be prosecuted. This ruling is unfair both to Biden and Donald Trump.
Hur’s report said that Biden, first as a senator and then as the Vice President, had illegally taken classified documents; hidden them in various places including his home, garage, and a private office; and shared their contents with someone not cleared to see them. But Hur added that Biden should not be prosecuted because a jury might find him too forgetful to conclude he had willfully broken the law.
Hur’s findings were enough to provoke an angry Biden to hold a press conference, presumably to try and show he was still mentally fit. But Biden’s combination of anger and fact mangling—for example, he confused the President of Egypt with the President of Mexico—only gave credence both to Hur’s report and to the concerns of many in the Democratic Party and throughout the country that Biden is too old to continue to serve effectively as President.
Personally, I think criticisms of Biden’s cognitive functions are overdrawn. True, he was loopy enough at his press conference, but he’s always been that way and he’s probably no worse now than he was, say, 40 years ago. Nor is he necessarily any worse than Trump, who recently confused Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi. Nonetheless, Biden will be under the increased pressure of knowing that every word and every stumble will noted, catalogued, magnified, and used against him. Granted, Biden’s truly awful policies on energy production, debt cancellation, and immigration can and should be used against him. But his thoughts on his son’s death should be off limits.
And Hur’s decision not to prosecute Biden has handed Trump a legitimate campaign issue. Why should Trump be prosecuted for taking classified documents if Biden’s getting a pass?
But supporters of prosecuting Trump claim he’s been indicted not only for taking papers he shouldn’t have, but for initially refusing to return them, lying about them, and conspiring with others to destroy them. His conduct, it is being argued, was far worse than Biden’s, who promptly cooperated with investigators to find classified materials and return them to the government. But Biden’s initial decision to take the materials and hide them without telling anyone what he was doing was hardly an act of cooperation. Would he have “voluntarily” confessed to their possession and returned them had investigators not raided Mar-a-Lago first? Or would they still be stored in his garage back in Delaware, presumably next to his prized Corvette? We’ll never really know.
Simple justice should demand that if Trump is to be prosecuted, so too must Biden, with a jury to determine whether he’s become too feeble-minded to be convicted. If Biden is to be spared prosecution, so too must Trump. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.