Biden’s Hur transcripts: An ugly meme, Corvette repairs, staff boxes

By Thomson Reuters Mar 12, 2024 | 9:53 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden sat for hours of questioning with Special Counsel Robert Hur over two days in early October, related to his handling of classified documents.

The transcripts, released by Congress Tuesday, give a rare candid view of Biden who has not granted many long interviews while in office and often delivers carefully scripted remarks, .

Hur declined to charge the president for mishandling classified information in a February report that criticized Biden’s memory; he said Tuesday his report did not exonerate the president.


Hur’s report called Biden an “elderly man with a poor memory,” but the 250 pages of transcripts depict a loquacious Biden offering detailed descriptions of everything from the first legal memo he ever wrote (a case related to an oil refinery worker who was wearing the “wrong jeans, and … a spark caught fire and got caught in the containment vessel and he lost part of his penis”) to the time he embarrassed the leader of Mongolia, to the construction of his Delaware home.

He’s particularly impassioned about his Delaware home; at one point Hur tells Biden “you appear to have a photographic understanding and, and recall of the house.”

What Biden most often says he does not recall is who packed his documents or other personal items when he left the vice presidency in 2009 and in the aftermath.

“My problem was I never knew where any of the documents or boxes were specifically coming from or who packed them,” Biden said, telling Hur he relied on staff to do that instead.


At one point, Biden repeats a familiar explanation for his decision to run for the presidency in 2020, the neo-Nazi Charlottesville march in 2017 that he said led him to think “I was the antithesis of everything that this guy stood for,” referring to Donald Trump.

But, he says, that wasn’t when he made the final decision. Even after Charlottesville, he still had reservations about a race, because of “how terrible they’d be” about his family.

His granddaughter Naomi called a “family meeting,” Biden says, in which his youngest grandson Robert talked him into it – by showing him a right-wing meme that involved Robert.

“He said, pop, we know it’s going to be mean, and he opens up his cell phone and there’s a picture of me walking out of Beau’s funeral,” Biden recalled. “They could see it was a military funeral, and my arm around my grandson, and the bottom line was ‘Biden molests another child’.”

Biden recalls his grandson then said: “‘But pop, you’ve got to run. Daddy’d want you to run.’ That’s when I decided to run.”

The meme is part of debunked theory spread by online conspiracist group QAnon, whose followers often allude to “a secret campaign” being waged by Trump against a pedophile sex trafficking ring that includes prominent Democrats.

THE CORVETTEBiden’s Corvette, which was stored in a garage, was a gift for him and his wife, from his father who managed a car dealership. It cost $5,700 and Biden is barely allowed to drive it, to his frustration, except to do a show with Jay Leno.

And “the worst part was they said I couldn’t drive it outside the driveway. I’d a long driveway. So I’d get to the bottom of the driveway, tack it up to about four grand (makes car sound).”

There’s laughter, the transcript says, then Biden adds: “You think I’m kidding. I’m not.”

(Reporting by Heather Timmons; Editing by Stephen Coates)