Friday Briefing

President Biden pushed back on some statements in the special counsel’s report.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Biden cleared in documents case

Even though President Biden retained classified material after leaving the vice presidency in 2017, “no criminal charges are warranted,” the special counsel investigating the issue wrote in a report released yesterday.

Robert Hur, the special counsel, criticized Biden for keeping sensitive material in insecure locations and sharing some of it with a ghostwriter who helped him on a memoir, but he said that the evidence did not establish Biden’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It was a legal exoneration for the president, but part of Hur’s rationale created a political nightmare for Biden, 81, who is running for re-election amid widespread concern from voters about his age. Hur said that he did not pursue a trial in part because Biden would most likely present himself to the jury “as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” and portrayed him as unable to remember key dates, like precisely when his son Beau died.

Biden rebutted Hur’s characterizations during a heated news conference at the White House last night. Still, Hur’s assessment is sure to provide potent new lines of attack for Donald Trump, who has long sought to sow doubts about Mr. Biden’s fitness for office.

Ballot hearing: The Supreme Court seemed poised to issue a lopsided ruling to reject a legal challenge to Trump’s eligibility to hold office again.

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