US President Joe Biden has responded to a recently concluded investigation that accused him of mishandling top-secret classified files and struggling to recall key life events. Special Counsel Robert Hur, a Republican appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, conducted the inquiry.

The inquiry’s findings fuelled speculation about the president’s memory and competence.

The 345-page report, released on Tuesday, disclosed that Biden “wilfully retained and disclosed” classified files but decided not to charge him. Hur’s investigation focused on Biden’s possession of classified documents related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan after his vice-presidential term. The report criticises the president’s memory, pointing out significant limitations.

During a five-hour interview with President Biden, Hur discovered that the president couldn’t recall specific periods during his vice presidency from 2009 to 2017 and struggled to remember when his son Beau died in 2015. Responding emotionally during a news conference, Biden objected to these report aspects. He considered questions about his son’s death none of their business.

Biden blamed his staff for placing sensitive memos in his garage beside a dog bed. The atmosphere in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room during the news conference was described as tense by a BBC reporter.

Despite Hur’s findings, Biden insists that his memory is fine and claims it has not deteriorated during his presidency. When confronted by a journalist about public concerns regarding his age, Biden raised his voice, stating that it was the journalist’s judgment.

Biden’s legal team criticised the special counsel’s use of highly prejudicial language to describe the president’s apparent memory lapses, characterising them as commonplace among witnesses of years-old events. White House lawyer Richard Sauber challenged the language used in the report regarding Biden’s memory.

The report also alleged that former President Donald Trump not only refused to return classified documents for an extended period but also obstructed justice by getting others to destroy evidence and lie about it. In response, Trump called for the cancellation of his classified files trial by the Justice Department prosecutor, Special Counsel Jack Smith, suggesting that dropping all litigation against him would contribute to the healing and unification of the country. This statement was made on Trump’s platform, Truth Social, where he identifies himself as the Republican White House frontrunner.