Skip to content
Fact
ba
.
se

Remarks: Joe Biden Discusses the Classified Document Report - February 8, 2024

  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • Question
    Person
  • Note
    Person
  • Unidentified
    Person
Negative

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:00:00-00:00:03 (3 sec)
Hey, everybody. 1

Question

Positive
00:00:03-00:00:05 (3 sec)
Good evening, Mr. President. 2

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:00:05-00:00:36 (31 sec)
Let me say a few things before I take your questions. As you know, the special counsel released his findings today about their look into my handling of classified documents. I was pleased to see he reached a firm conclusion that no charges should be brought against me in this case. This was an exhaustive investigation going back more than 40 years, even into the 1970s, when I was still a new United States senator. 3

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:00:36-00:01:00 (24 sec)
And the special counsel acknowledged I cooperated completely. I did not throw up any roadblocks. I sought no delays. In fact, I was so determined to give the special counsel what he needed. I went forward with a five-hour, in-person -- five-hour, in-person interview over two days on October the 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked by Hamas on the 7th, and I was very occupied. 4

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:01:00-00:01:20 (20 sec)
It was in the middle of handling an international crisis. I was especially pleased to see special counsel make clear the stark distinction and difference between this case and Mr. Trump's case. The special counsel wrote, and I quote, "Several material distinctions between Mr. Trump's case and Mr. Biden's are clear," continuing to quote -- 5

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:01:20-00:02:02 (42 sec)
Most notably, after given multiple chances to return classified documents to avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite. According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it. In contrast, he went on to say, "Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations, including his home, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation." I've seen the headlines since the report was released about my willful retention of documents. 6

Joe Biden

Positive
00:02:02-00:02:29 (26 sec)
This -- this assertion is not only misleading, they're just plain wrong. On Page 215, if you had a chance, I know it's a long -- it's a thick document. On Page 215 of the report of the special counsel found the exact opposite. Here's what he wrote. "There is, in fact, a shortage of evidence that I willfully retained classified materials related to Afghanistan." On Page 12, the special counsel also wrote for another documents -- 7

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:02:29-00:02:54 (25 sec)
The decision to decline criminal charges was straightforward. The evidence suggests that Mr. Biden did not willfully retain these documents. The evidence, he said, I did not willfully retain these documents. In addition, I know there's some attention paid to some language in the report about my recollection of events. There's even reference that I don't remember when my son died. 8

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:02:54-00:03:22 (28 sec)
How in the hell dare he raise that? Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself, it wasn't any of their damn business. Let me tell you something. Some of you have commented I wear, since the day he died, every single day the rosary he got from our lady of -- every Memorial Day, we hold a service remembering him, attended by friends and family and the people who loved him. 9

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:03:22-00:03:43 (22 sec)
I don't need anyone. I don't need anyone to remind me when he passed away -- or he passed away. Simple truth is I sat for five-hour interview over two days of events going back 40 years. At the same time, I was managing an international crisis. Their task was to make a decision about whether to move forward with charges in this case. 10

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:03:43-00:04:07 (24 sec)
That's their decision to make. That's the counsel's decision to make. That's his job. And they decided not to move forward for any extraneous commentary. They don't know what they're talking about. It has no place in this report. The bottom line is the matter is now closed. I'm going to continue what I've always focused on, my job of being president of the United States of America. 11

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:04:07-00:04:09 (2 sec)
Thank you. And I'll take some questions. 12

Question

Neutral
00:04:09-00:04:20 (10 sec)
President Biden, something the special counsel said in his report is that one of the reasons you were not charged is because, in his description, you are a well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory. 13

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:04:20-00:04:33 (14 sec)
I'm well-meaning and I'm an elderly man, and I know what the hell I'm doing. I've been president, and I put this country back on its feet. I don't need his recommendation. That's totally out -- 14

Question

Very Negative
00:04:33-00:04:36 (2 sec)
How bad is your memory? And can you continue as president? 15

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:04:36-00:04:41 (5 sec)
My memory is so bad, I let you speak. That's the -- that says -- 16

Question

Negative
00:04:41-00:04:43 (2 sec)
Do you feel your memory has gotten worse, Mr. President? 17

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
00:04:43-00:04:59 (16 sec)
No, look, my memory is not -- my memory is fine. My memory -- take a look at what I've done since I've become president. None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How did that happen? You know, I guess I just forgot what was going on. 18

Note

Unknown
00:04:59-00:04:59 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 19

Question

Very Negative
00:04:59-00:05:06 (7 sec)
The voters have concerns about your age. How are you going to assuage them? And do you fear that this report is only going to fuel further concerns about your age? 20

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:06-00:05:07 (2 sec)
Only by some of you. 21

Note

Unknown
00:05:07-00:05:07 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 22

Question

Very Negative
00:05:07-00:05:12 (4 sec)
Mr. President, you declared a criminal liability today -- 23

Question

Somewhat Negative
00:05:12-00:05:17 (5 sec)
Do you take responsibility for at least being careless with classified material? 24

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:17-00:05:33 (16 sec)
I take responsibility for not having seen exactly what my staff was doing. There's -- it goes in and [Inaudible] out. Things that appeared in my garage, things that came out of my home, things that were moved -- were moved not by me, but my staff -- but my staff. 25

Note

Unknown
00:05:33-00:05:33 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 26

Question

Slightly Positive
00:05:33-00:05:38 (5 sec)
Mr. President, why did you share classified information with your ghostwriter? 27

Question

Unknown
00:05:38-00:05:46 (8 sec)
Mr. President -- Mr. President, for -- Mr. President, for months, when you were asked about your age, you would respond with the words, "Watch me." 28

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:46-00:05:46 ( sec)
Watch me. 29

Question

Unknown
00:05:46-00:05:49 (3 sec)
Many American people have been watching, and they have expressed concerns about your age. They -- 30

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:49-00:05:49 ( sec)
That is your judgment. 31

Question

Unknown
00:05:49-00:05:52 (3 sec)
They -- this is according to public polling. 32

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:52-00:05:53 (1 sec)
That is your judgment. 33

Question

Unknown
00:05:53-00:05:54 (1 sec)
They express concerns -- 34

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:54-00:05:57 (2 sec)
That is not the judgment of the press. 35

Question

Very Negative
00:05:57-00:06:09 (13 sec)
They express concerns about your mental acuity. They say that you are too old. Mr. President, in December, you told me that you believe there are many other Democrats who could defeat Donald Trump. So, why does it have to be you now? What is your answer to that question? 36

Joe Biden

Positive
00:06:09-00:06:13 (4 sec)
Because I'm the most qualified person in this country to be president of the United States and finish the job I started. 37

Note

Unknown
00:06:13-00:06:13 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 38

Question

Unknown
00:06:13-00:06:14 (1 sec)
Mr. President -- 39

Question

Unknown
00:06:14-00:06:14 ( sec)
Do you believe -- 40

Question

Slightly Positive
00:06:14-00:06:18 (4 sec)
Mr. President, why did you share -- 41

Question

Unknown
00:06:18-00:06:20 (2 sec)
Why are you just using the names of world leaders? 42

Unidentified

Somewhat Positive
00:06:20-00:06:23 (3 sec)
Thank you, everyone. 43

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
00:06:23-00:06:25 (3 sec)
I did not share classified information. I did not share it -- 44

Question

Somewhat Negative
00:06:25-00:06:27 (2 sec)
With your ghostwriter, do you deny that? 45

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:06:27-00:06:29 (2 sec)
With my ghostwriter, I did not. Guarantee you, did not. 46

Question

Positive
00:06:29-00:06:30 (1 sec)
But the special counsel said that -- 47

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:06:30-00:06:32 (2 sec)
Well, no, he did not say that. 48

Question

Positive
00:06:32-00:06:32 ( sec)
OK -- 49

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:06:32-00:06:33 (1 sec)
He did not say that. 50

Question

Unknown
00:06:33-00:06:35 (1 sec)
But, Mr. President -- 51

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:06:35-00:07:03 (28 sec)
Well, let -- let me answer your question. The fact of the matter is, what I didn't want repeated, I didn't want him to know and I didn't read it to him, was I had written a long memorandum to President Obama why we should not be in this -- in Afghanistan. And I was I was -- it was multiple pages. And so, what I was referring to, I said classified, I should have said it was -- should be private because it was a contact between a president and a vice president as to what was going on. 52

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:07:03-00:07:22 (19 sec)
That's what he is referring to. It was not classified information in that document. That was not classified. 53

Note

Unknown
00:07:22-00:07:22 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 54

Question

Positive
00:07:22-00:07:33 (11 sec)
When you look back at this incident, is there anything you would do differently now? And do you think that a special prosecutor should have been appointed in the first place in both of these cases? 55

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:07:33-00:08:05 (32 sec)
First of all, what I would have done is overseen the transfer of the material that was in my office -- in my offices. I should have done that. And if I go back -- I didn't have the responsibility to that. That was my staff who was supposed to do that, and they referenced that in the report. And my staff did not do it in the way that -- for example, I didn't know how half the boxes got in my garage until I found out staff gathered them up, put them together, and took them to the garage in my home. 56

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
00:08:05-00:08:21 (16 sec)
And all the stuff that was in my home was in filing cabinets that were either locked or able to be locked. It was in my house. It wasn't out in like in Mar-a-Lago, in a public place where -- and none of it was high classified, didn't have any of that red stuff on it, you know what I mean, around the corners? 57

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:08:21-00:08:34 (14 sec)
None of that. And so, I wish I had paid more attention to how the documents were being moved and where -- I thought they were being moved to the archives. I thought all of it was being moved. That's what I thought. Now, what was the last part of your question? 58

Question

Positive
00:08:34-00:08:40 (5 sec)
Whether a special counsel should have been appointed in this case and in the case of your rival president -- former president, Donald -- 59

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:08:40-00:08:56 (16 sec)
I think a special counsel should have been appointed. And the reason I think a special counsel should have been appointed is because I did not want to be in a position that they looked at Trump and weren't going to look at me, just like they looked at the vice president. And the fact is, they made a firm conclusion. 60

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:08:56-00:09:06 (11 sec)
I did not break the law. Period. Thank you all very, very much. 61

Question

Unknown
00:09:06-00:09:09 (2 sec)
Mr. President -- 62

Question

Unknown
00:09:09-00:09:20 (11 sec)
[Inaudible] can you provide an update on the hostage negotiations? The hostage negotiations came from [Inaudible] negotiations. 63

Question

Unknown
00:09:20-00:09:24 (4 sec)
Netanyahu says that he has ordered an IDF -- 64

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:09:24-00:09:27 (3 sec)
Hostage negotiation. Look -- 65

Question

Neutral
00:09:27-00:09:31 (4 sec)
I'm sorry. 66

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:09:31-00:09:57 (26 sec)
I'm of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza -- in the Gaza Strip has been over the top. I think that, as you know, initially, the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate. 67

Joe Biden

Somewhat Negative
00:09:57-00:10:28 (31 sec)
I talked to Bibi to open the gate on the Israeli side. I've been pushing really hard, really hard to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza. There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying. And it's got to stop, number one. Number two, I was also in the position that I'm the guy that made the case that we have to do much more to increase the amount of material going in, including fuel, including other items. 68

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:10:28-00:10:45 (17 sec)
I've been on the phone with the Qataris, I've been on the phone with the Egyptians, I've been on the phone with the Saudis to get as much aid as we possibly can into Gaza. They're innocent people and innocent women and children who are also in bad -- badly need of help. And so, that's what we're pushing. 69

Joe Biden

Somewhat Negative
00:10:45-00:11:25 (40 sec)
And I'm pushing very hard now to deal with this hostage cease-fire because, as you know, I've been working tirelessly in this deal. How can I say this without revealing -- to lead to a sustained pause in the fighting, in the actions taking place in the Gaza Strip. And because I think if we can get the delay for that, an initial delay, I think that we would be able to extend that so that we could increase the prospect that this fighting in Gaza changes. 70

Joe Biden

Positive
00:11:25-00:11:49 (24 sec)
There's also negotiations. You may recall, in the very beginning, right after -- right before Hamas attacked, I was in contact with the Saudis and others to work out a deal where they would recognize Israel's right to exist, let them make them part of the Middle East and recognize them fully, in return for certain things that the United States would commit to do. 71

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:11:49-00:12:10 (21 sec)
And the commitment that we were proposing to do related to two -- two items. I'm not going to go in detail. But one of them was to deal with the protection against the archenemy to the Northwest -- Northeast, I should say. The second one, by providing ammunition and materiel for them to defend themselves. 72

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:12:10-00:12:32 (23 sec)
Coincidentally, that's the time frame when this broke out. I have no proof what I'm about to say, but it's not unreasonable to suspect that the Hamas understood what was about to take place and wanted to break it up before it happened. 73

Note

Unknown
00:12:32-00:12:33 ( sec)
[Crosstalk] 74