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Hur

Hur on the Hill, but it’s 2024 time

Former Special Counsel Robert Hur will testify today before the House Judiciary Committee on his report into President Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents. But expect the majority of the hearing to center on Biden’s fitness for office.

Hur is no longer employed by the government and will be testifying in a personal capacity after leaving the Justice Department last week, the department said Monday night. This was first reported by The Independent. Hur was a lawyer in private practice prior to his January 2023 appointment as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

This means that Hur won’t be bound by DOJ guidelines on his congressional testimony. So the already high stakes for this hearing are going up even more and we could get some real fireworks here. Plus, Hur is being represented by big-time GOP lawyer William Burck.

As with everything in D.C. this year, the presidential election will loom large over the proceedings. The White House — recognizing concerns over Biden’s age will play a role in the campaign — has furiously tried to rebut many of Hur’s findings in his report.

Republicans will press Hur on his conclusion that charging Biden wouldn’t be fruitful because a jury would likely see the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Democrats will highlight that the special counsel decided against prosecuting Biden. And they’ll also point out that Hur made clear that Biden’s approach to the investigation differed significantly from former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case.

What’s in the report: Hur wrote that, after leaving office, Biden improperly retained two sets of classified documents from his time as vice president. One set of documents dealt with the war in Afghanistan, while the other included Biden’s handwritten notes on classified material.

While Hur’s opening statement said there was evidence that Biden “willfully retained” these documents, the special counsel later asserts there isn’t enough proof to conclude this beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Trump factor: While Republicans will tout the most eye-opening accusations from Hur’s report (such as Biden forgetting when he was vice president and when his son Beau Biden died), Democrats will try to deflect attention to the former president.

Judiciary Democrats will lean on video components to show instances of Trump failing to remember key facts, according to a source familiar with the Democratic strategy. One clip that will receive play: When Trump confused E. Jean Carroll for his ex-wife Marla Maples.

What’s next in oversight: Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and James Comer (R-Ky.), the chairs of the Judiciary and Oversight panels, are demanding access to the transcript or video of Biden’s interview with Hur. To date, the DOJ hasn’t given the Republicans what they requested in their subpoena. We’ll be tracking any new developments on this front today.

— Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.