By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

It’s James Comey redux as special counsel Hur clears (and slimes) President Biden

Special counsel Robert Hur. Photo (cc) 2021 by Maryland GovPics.

It’s just incredible that we’re dealing with James Comey redux. I’m sure you remember his efforts to tank Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. He cleared her of criminal wrongdoing over “her emails” and then proceeded to trash her anyway, going far beyond his mandate. Then he reopened the investigation just days before the election only to shut it down again and say, Never mind.

Well, special counsel Robert Hur just did the same thing to President Biden — announcing that Biden committed no crime in his handling of classified information but then gratuitously adding that the president is “a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Prosecutors either charge or they don’t charge. Other than that, their job is to shut up. It was grotesquely unethical for Hur, a Trump-appointed former U.S. attorney, to excoriate Biden right after he’d exonerated him.

We’ll be dealing with the aftermath of Hur’s unethical actions for the rest of the campaign. Meanwhile, I urge you to read this Josh Marshall commentary, which provides some much-needed perspective. Marshall writes:

There’s no crying in baseball. Entirely justified outrage from Biden supporters won’t counter whatever damage these comments will have. The White House will need to get Biden in front of interviewers, where he actually does quite well, and in widely seen venues, to counter it. It’s really as simple as that.

Biden started that process Thursday evening with a contentious news conference in which he vigorously defended himself — and, uh, confused Egypt with Mexico. Look, this guy has been a fumble-mouth for his entire career, and not just because he has a stuttering problem. But in terms of media perceptions, there’s a big difference between blurting out such stuff when you’re 40 and when you’re 80.

And never mind that his opponent is nearly as old, appears to be suffering from dementia, and is an insurrectionist authoritarian besides.

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  1. Bill O

    It should be loudly noted that Joe Biden has survived two brain aneurysms and his communication may be impaired by that. The stutter doesn’t help either. Trump has mysteriously behaved himself on this one. He has plenty of others doing his bidding. This White House reminds me of Jimmy Carter’s White House. Both are wonderful, caring presidents but they can’t get out in front of a story. Ya can’t win a game on defense.

  2. Stephen Walker

    It’s difficult to watch him speak and campaign. In the past week during speeches, Biden has said that he recently met with foreign leaders who died decades ago. Then Egypt and Mexico. And he could not remember the name of the church for the rosary beads (“Our Lady of…”). Many people choose to vote more for the personality and face rather than details on policy, at least when it comes to presidents. Dems tempted fate in 2016 by nominating Hillary while under investigation and strongly disliked; now they appear ready to tempt fate by nominating the largely disliked and unconvincing Biden. The stakes are too high to lose this election and possibly our democracy. The reason the special counsel did not choose to charge Biden is so that it could be left vague and people would get the idea that what Trump and Biden have done is the same. If he had charged Biden then the real evidence would have been more heavily scrutinized. If the economy does not do well in 2024, Biden won’t have much to run on other than playing defense. It’s mind boggling that people could consider voting for Trump, but we are a very racist country and securing the border is a dog whistle for racism.

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