‘I smell a rat,’ says Dem Gov. Pritzker of special counsel report on Biden

Democratic governors lashed out Friday against a report from special counsel Robert Hur, which cleared the president of wrongdoing on his handling of classified information but took digs at his age and memory.

“I smell a rat,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a surrogate for President Joe Biden’s reelection, told reporters when asked about the Hur report.

“It was extremely unfair for a Trump appointee, originally to the Department of Justice, to offer his own opinions about the mental acuity or age of the president of the United States,” Pritzker said in Illinois at an unrelated news conference.

At least one other Democratic governor rushed to Biden’s defense. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul suggested politics played a role in the report’s language, saying, “I question what a Republican former employee of Donald Trump included in his report.”

Hur’s review found Biden was in possession of classified documents in his home but that the president wouldn’t be charged because he didn’t have willful intent and cooperated fully with the investigation.

That drew praise from the Democratic governors and other Biden allies who had followed the case.

But the report went further, saying the 81-year-old president wouldn’t be prosecuted because a jury would see him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The phrase was immediately picked up by Republicans at all levels, who have long been pushing the line of attack that Biden is too old to run for president again. Democrats have been reluctant to make too much of the issue. Now, the Hur report has forced them to respond.

“Bottom line,” said Hochul, “the report concluded that there was nothing that merits any charges to be brought, so he has been cleared, unlike Donald Trump, who has 91 indictments against him. That’s the contrast we should be talking about.”

Trump faces federal criminal charges for mishandling and improper storage of classified documents — and resisting cooperating with federal authorities. Trump denies wrongdoing.

Pritzker referenced the Trump classified documents case too, saying the former president “committed what looks to me what I would describe it as treason, hiding documents that are classified, not being forthcoming when asked about it.”

The Illinois governor, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel empire, is a major donor to the Democratic Party and helped lead the effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to Chicago in August. It’s put him in close contact over the years with Biden.

“I’ve been with the president of the United States many times,” Pritzker said. “He is on the ball. The man knows more than most of us have forgotten.”

Pritzker and Hochul’s comments echoed Vice President Kamala Harris, who also answered questions on the issue Friday.

“The way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts,” she said, “And clearly politically motivated, gratuitous.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated Biden’s age. Source

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