A panel of MSNBC hosts rushed to defend President Biden on Thursday and even attacked Special Counsel Robert Hur for injecting “ageism” into his newly released report that noted significant memory lapses by the president.
During the network’s primetime special coverage of the breaking news, “The Beat” host Ari Melber began by calling the report “very good legal news” for the president since the probe concluded so quickly, in part due to his cooperation with investigators. Hur’s investigation into the classified documents found in Biden’s possession concluded there wasn’t sufficient evidence to file charges.
“Hur looks like – the Trump holdover prosecutor looks like having gotten the thing that helps you get the most facts possible – a timely interview with a very busy and very legally protected figure, the president of the United States and having gotten the answers that helped him reach the conclusion that there was no crime, he then started to cherry-pick the interview for his spin on basically what he perceives to be, Mr. Hur’s opinion, derogatory information.”
Melber stressed it’s “standard ops” for those being the subject of an investigation to tell investigators, “I don’t recall,” but quickly accused Hur’s critique of Biden’s memory as being ageist.
“Do you want to get into the age thing? Let’s call it what it is. This is ageism snuck into a report clearing the person of any wrongdoing,” Melber said. “If you want to get the ageism, young people are told all the time by their lawyers, ‘Hey, you’re way better off leaning into I don’t recall than possibly misstating something to a federal officer or under oath in this case.’ So it’s a lot of derogatory stuff.”
“And I do think, and I want to be clear, a credit to the president that he chose to do fast cooperation. I think that’s good for the system. Politically, though, it’s now being used against him,” he later added.
His MSNBC colleague Chris Hayes insisted Hur was “frustrated and angry” that he “didn’t get more” from his probe into Biden, pivoting to how age is the “central narrative question here that this all revolves around.”
“In terms of its political repercussions, the way the news happened today, the questions being asked [of] him by multiple figures there. And in the end, what makes it such a useful political tool for people that want Donald Trump to be elected or want [Biden] not to be re-elected is that the fact that his age is not something you can rebut,” Hayes said. “If someone says you’re too far left, you can tack to the center. The man is 80 years old!”
“He rides a bike!” host Rachel Maddow interjected.
“He is the age he is!” Hayes continued; Biden is actually 81. “And so it’s a very useful political attack for them.”
Hur, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents, concluded he would not bring charges against him in part because a jury would find him to be a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory,” despite the acknowledgment that the documents were “willfully” obtained by Biden both as vice president and as a senator.
However, Hur’s report revealed Biden had a “hazy” memory about when he was previously in office and when his son Beau died, which happened in 2015.
“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” the report states. “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).”
“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report continued. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”
These revelations, in addition to his recent slew of gaffes, continue to fuel concerns among some voters about the advanced age of Biden, the oldest president in U.S. history. His likely 2024 opponent, former President Trump, will turn 78 in June.
Fox News’ Breana Scheckwitz contributed to this report.