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Ranking Member Nadler Opening Statement for House Judiciary Committee Hearing with Special Counsel Robert Hur

Mr. Chairman, House Republicans may be desperate to convince America that white, conservative, men are on the losing end of a two-tiered justice system—a theory that appeals to the MAGA crowd but has no basis in reality—but your comments today make me wonder if you have read the Special Counsel’s report at all.

The Hur Report does help us draw a distinction between President Biden and Donald Trump—just not the one that you want.  Two distinctions, actually.

First, the Report is clear that, quote, “at no point did [the Special Counsel] find evidence that Mr. Biden intended or had reason to believe the information would be used to injure the United States or to benefit a foreign nation.”

With respect to the classified documents found in President Biden’s possession, quote, “the decision to decline criminal charges was straightforward.”

And with respect to the Special Counsel’s investigation, quote, “Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”

President Biden acted responsibly, cooperated completely, and the decision to decline criminal charges was relatively straightforward.

In short, t borrow a phrase from the last Administration, the Hur Report represents the complete and total exoneration of President Biden.

And how does that record contrast with President Trump, the documents he retained, and the criminal charges pending against him in Florida?

We know that Trump deliberately took large amounts of classified information from the White House.  He has admitted as much, occasionally pretending that he declassified this information—without telling anyone—on his way out the door.

We know that he stored that information around Mar-a-Lago in the craziest of places—on the ballroom stage, spilled across the floor of an unlocked closet, next to the toilet.

We know that he showed classified military plans to an author interviewing him at Bedminster.  “[A]s president I could have declassified it,” Trump says on an audio recording. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.” 

So much for the declassification theory.

We know from the indictment that Trump is alleged to have shared these classified documents with many other visitors to Mar-a-Lago.

And we know that, despite this outrageous conduct, the Department of Justice gave Trump every opportunity to avoid criminal charges.

Again, in the Special Counsel’s words, quote, “after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite. [H]e not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.”

Why did the Department charge former President Trump but not President Biden? 

Not because of some vast conspiracy, not because the so-called deep state was out to get him—but because former President Trump was fundamentally incapable of taking advantage of even one of the many, many chances he was given to avoid those charges. 

Which brings me to the second distinction this report helps us draw between President Biden and Donald Trump. 

Simply put, President Biden had the mental acuity to navigate this situation.  Donald Trump did not.

Much has been made of the Special Counsel’s gratuitous comments about President Biden’s age. 

But let’s set the context. 

After returning every classified document, after opening his home to federal investigators, while simultaneously managing the first hours of the crisis in Israel, President Biden volunteered to sit through a five-hour interview with the Special Counsel. 

I believe, as is his habit, that President Biden probably committed a verbal slip or two during the interview. 

And I’m not sure any of that matters—because when the interview was over, Mr. Hur completely exonerated President Biden.

And then . . . there is Donald Trump. What kind of man bungles, not one, but dozens of opportunities to avoid criminal liability?  What must that say about his mental state?

Here, too, the record speaks for itself.


That is a man who is incapable of avoiding criminal liability, a man who is wholly unfit for office, and a man who, at the very least, ought to think twice before accusing others of cognitive decline.

Thank you for being here today, Mr. Hur.  Thank you for illuminating a stark choice for this country in the months to come. 

I look forward to your testimony and I yield back.

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