Review of Sensitive Issues Slows Potential Release of Biden Transcript

The White House’s review of whether to release a transcript of a special counsel’s interview of President Biden that set off a political furor is being complicated by the sensitive material it covers, including classified information, security measures and discussions that could be subject to executive privilege, people familiar with the matter said.

The White House has been pressed by reporters seeking the transcript since the release last week of the report by Robert K. Hur, a special counsel who investigated Mr. Biden’s handling of classified records from his vice presidency after he left office. And three Republican chairmen of House oversight committees have sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland demanding that he turn over both the transcript and audio recording.

But while the White House has indicated it is looking at releasing the material to support its assertions that Mr. Hur’s characterization that Mr. Biden’s memory had “significant limitations” was inaccurate and driven by partisanship, it has made no commitment to do so and has offered no timetable. Such a disclosure does not appear imminent, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters about why the review is challenging.

Mr. Hur, who was appointed by Mr. Garland and had served as a political appointee in the Trump Justice Department, found that “no criminal charges are warranted” against Mr. Biden even though classified material from his vice presidency had been found at an office and in his home.

While the report said there was some evidence consistent with a conclusion that Mr. Biden had willfully retained the files without authorization, it also said the facts fell short of proving that he did so and other evidence was consistent with innocent explanations.

But even as Mr. Hur concluded that there was no criminal case to be brought, he portrayed Mr. Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory” who in their interview forgot what years his term as vice president began and ended and what year his son Beau died.

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