WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris tore into special counsel Robert Hur on Friday for questioning President Biden’s mental fitness in a stunning report on his handling of classified records — with the veep saying Hur lacked “integrity” and was “politically motivated” before saying Biden was focused on Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel when he appeared confused to Hur’s investigators over two days of interviews.
Harris, 59, was asked whether she “as a former prosecutor” thought Hur’s report was “fair” to Biden, 81, who is seeking a second term in the November election.
“I’m glad you asked,” Harris said as she lingered conspicuously at a podium near the White House following an event focused on gun violence prevention.
“Listen, I have been privileged and proud to serve as vice president of the United States with Joe Biden as president United States. And what I saw [in] that report last night, I believe, is — as a former prosecutor, the comments that were made by that prosecutor were gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate,” Harris began.
“October 7 — Israel experienced a horrific attack. And I will tell you, we got the calls, the president and myself in the hours after that occurred,” she said.
Biden was interviewed by Hur’s team over five hours on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9.
“It was an intense moment for the commander-in-chief of the United States of America, and I was in almost every meeting with the president in the hours and days that — countless hours with the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the heads of our intelligence community,” Harris went on.
“And the president was in front of and on top of it all, asking questions and requiring that America’s military and intelligence community and diplomatic community would figure out and know how many people were dead. How many are Americans? How many hostages? Is the situation stable? He was in front of it all, coordinating and directing leaders who are in charge of America’s national security, not to mention our allies around the globe —for days, and up until now, months.”
Harris, who will become president if Biden has to leave office due to health reasons, concluded with another kick to Hur.
“So the way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly, politically motivated, gratuitous,” the former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general said.
“And so I will say that when it comes to the role and responsibility of a prosecutor in a situation like that, we should expect that there would be a higher level of integrity than what we saw.”
Hur’s report described Biden hoarding classified documents dating to his time as a senator as well as his vice presidency, but said that he shouldn’t face criminal charges — in part because he would present to jurors “as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
Harris did not explain Friday how the Hamas attack on Israel could have caused Biden to forget, as Hur’s report stated, “when he was vice president” as well as “when his son Beau died.”
Biden lashed out at Hur’s characterization at a Thursday night press conference but ended up compounding questions about his mental fitness by identifying Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the president of Egypt, as the leader of Mexico — after a trio of errors over the past week recalling conversations with deceased leaders of Germany and France.