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Biden dismisses memory loss rumours, but calls Al-Sisi Mexico president

Biden dismisses memory loss rumours, but calls Al-Sisi Mexico president

US President Joe Biden has strongly criticised an investigation that found him mishandling top-secret files and struggling to recall key life events.

During a surprise news briefing on Thursday evening, Biden asserted that his memory remains intact. “My memory is fine,” he said.

He vehemently rejected claims that he could not remember when his son passed away, saying, “How the hell dare he raise that?”

Read also: President Biden pledges $100 million for Gaza humanitarian aid

Biden calls Al-Sisi president of Mexico

Despite Biden’s attempts to address concerns about his mental acuity, he inadvertently confused two world leaders during the news conference, underscoring ongoing scrutiny over his cognitive abilities.

Asked to comment on the latest in the Israel-Gaza war during Thursday’s evening news conference, he confused Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

“I think as you know initially,” he said, “the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in.

The inquiry concluded that Biden had “wilfully retained and disclosed” classified documents but opted against filing charges.
Robert Hur, Department of Justice special counsel, determined that the president had improperly retained classified files related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan after his tenure as vice president.

In a 345-page report released earlier in the day, the president’s memory was described as having “significant limitations.”

Hur conducted a five-hour interview with the 81-year-old president as part of the investigation. The special counsel noted Biden’s inability to recall key periods, including his tenure as vice president and the time of his son’s passing.

During the news conference, an emotional Biden vehemently defended his recollection of events, dismissing inquiries into his personal grief as intrusive.

He asserted that his focus during the interview was on managing international crises, such as the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The inquiry also raised concerns about Biden sharing sensitive material with a ghostwriter for his memoir, an allegation the president denied. The report suggested that convicting the president for mishandling files would be challenging, given his perceived sympathetic demeanour and memory issues.

While opinion polls reflect concerns about Biden’s age ahead of November’s White House election, he reiterated his qualifications and defended his record. He denied personal responsibility for having classified documents in his possession, attributing it to staff oversight.

Tensions ran high during the news conference, with Biden pushing back against questions about his age and cognitive abilities. He insisted that his memory remains sharp and criticised the report’s characterisation of his memory lapses.

The investigation’s findings, which stemmed from files discovered at Biden’s residences and former office, come amid ongoing legal scrutiny into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified information. The report distinguishes between the cases, noting that Biden cooperated with government archivists, unlike Trump.

In response to the investigation, Trump called for the cancellation of his own classified files trial, urging the Justice Department to prioritise national healing.

Despite Biden’s attempts to address concerns about his mental acuity, he inadvertently confused two world leaders during the news conference, underscoring ongoing scrutiny over his cognitive abilities.

Asked to comment on the latest in the Israel-Gaza war during Thursday’s evening news conference, he confused Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

“I think as you know initially,” he said, “the president of Mexico, Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in.