Interview Transcript, Congressional Testimony Shed Light on Biden's Memory Lapses During Classified Doc Investigation

Biden failed to recall when his son died, went off on strange tangents during interviews with Special Counsel Robert Hur

March 12, 2024

Special Counsel Robert Hur stood by his assessment that President Joe Biden was a "well-meaning, elderly man" whose failing memory would have made it untenable to pursue prosecution of his willful retention of classified records during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Transcripts of Hur’s interviews with Biden released Tuesday and reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon support Hur’s assessment that there are "significant limitations" surrounding Biden’s memory. Throughout the five hours of interviews on Oct. 8 and 9, Biden struggled to recall relevant details about his handling of classified records or when he served as vice president.

The transcript also confirms Biden could not recall when his son, Beau, died, and further shows that the president raised that subject unprompted—contradicting the president’s claim during a Feb. 8 press conference that Hur raised the subject.

But the transcripts also reveal that Biden went off on a number of tangents during his interviews with special counsel Robert Hur, including anecdotes about what sound a car makes, a "risqué" bathing suit his 72-year-old wife wears, and a horrific industrial accident where a young man’s genitalia was burned off.

Early on in his Oct. 8 interview with Hur, the special counsel asked Biden if he ever transferred any documents from his vice presidential residence to his primary Delaware residence. Biden answered that he did "occasionally," and as he provided context to his answer, the president deemed it necessary to mention that first lady Jill Biden looks great in a bikini.

"You left everything in place," Biden told Hur in reference to the special counsel’s search of his Delaware lake house. "I just hope you didn’t find any risqué pictures of my wife in a bathing suit. Which you probably did. She’s beautiful."

Biden didn’t stop there. He proceeded to provide the special counsel a history lesson on his struggles as a "frustrated architect" designing plans for the home as it was being built. Biden went into great detail about how he obtained its furnishings, including a "beautiful desk" he purchased during his brief career as an attorney prior to his election to the Senate in 1972.

During this tangent, Biden revealed a remarkable feat: He hit a target hundreds of yards away with a bow and arrow during a visit to Mongolia in August 2011.

"I’m not a bad archer," Biden said, after referring to Mongolian archers as "gorillas." "But … I hit the goddamn target."

video uploaded by the Obama administration of the occasion shows Biden shooting a bow into an empty field. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Later, as Hur attempted to steer the conversation back to how classified documents made their way from Biden’s West Wing office to his personal residences, Biden again veered into an unrelated story about how he "didn’t take law school very seriously," but had a knack for unpacking tort cases on the fly.

"We had a really difficult professor," Biden recalled. "He called on me to—you know how they do in law school, discuss a case, you know, in your first torts class. And I had never read the case, and I stood up and I spoke for 10 minutes. The whole class stood up, started clapping."

Biden, who once falsely claimed he graduated at the top of his class from Syracuse Law School, failed a class after plagiarizing from a law review article about torts. That plagiarism scandal contributed to his failed presidential bid in 1987.

Biden then detailed a bizarre episode during one of his first jobs out of law school involving a 23-year-old construction worker with a seared penis and a missing testicle, and how the case ultimately led him to enter politics.

"This poor kid is down a hundred-foot vessel, chimney, scraping the hydrogen bubbles off of the inside," Biden told Hur. "And he was wearing the wrong pants, wrong jeans, and he—a spark caught fire and got caught in the containment vessel and he lost part of his penis and one of his testicles and he was 23 years old."

Biden claimed in a memoir that part of the reason he entered politics was his experience as a lifeguard in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Biden continued, discussing how he then involved himself in reforming the Delaware Democratic Party from its slavery-supporting roots and his pathway to entering electoral politics, which ultimately led to his election as senator at 29.

At first glance, it’s unclear how any of this relates to Biden’s classified records scandal. The president later clarified to Hur that he told these stories to demonstrate his lifelong habit of keeping notes.

"And the whole point of telling you all this is I had a lot of material that I kept notes on," Biden said. "My generic point was there was a lot of material that I had amassed that I wanted to save."

Biden ended his first day of interviews with Hur to attend a barbeque he threw for his staff that afternoon, one day after Hamas’s invasion of Israel. The White House previously claimed that Biden’s inability to recall basic facts about his family and career was because he was "handling an international crisis" at the time.

The next day, as Hur inquired how classified records made their way to the garage of Biden’s Delaware lake house, the president seized the opportunity to demonstrate the power of his beloved 1967 Corvette Stingray.

"It’s a long driveway. So I’d get to the bottom of the driveway, tack it up to about four grand," Biden said before making a "car sound" with his mouth. "You think I’m kidding; I’m not."

"I believe you. Yes," Hur responded.

Biden added that "one of the best parts of being Vice President and President" is getting to drive state-of-the-art electric vehicles.

"Damn, they’re quick," Biden said. "You step your foot on the accelerator all the way down until it gets to about 6, 7 grand. Then all of a sudden it will say ‘launch.’ All you do is take your foot off the brake."

The president proceeded to make another "car sound" to demonstrate his point.

"Woah," Hur said, before recalibrating the interview back to Biden’s retention of classified records.

Speaking to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Hur defended the contents of his report and reiterated that he did not exonerate Biden. Hur also confirmed that the White House requested he tone down references to Biden's poor memory in the final draft of his report.

Update 4:58 p.m.: This piece has been updated with additional information.