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CNN Live Event/Special

Special Counsel Robert Hur Testifies Regarding Biden Classified Documents Probe; Hur Questioned About Classified Info at Biden's Home. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 12, 2024 - 10:30   ET



REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): On the contrary, Trump suggested that his attorney hide or destroy evidence requested by the FBI and the grand jury. Trump carefully instructed his aid to move boxes of classified documents to hide them from the FBI. Trump tried to delete incriminating security tape footage from Mar-a-Lago, and he got his attorney to provide a false certification to the FBI. Saying he had produced all the documents in his possession, he did not.

Given that this report is so damning in the contrast between Biden and Trump, it is hard for me to see why our colleagues think that this hearing advances their flailing and embarrassing quest to impeach the president of the United States.

What America sees today is evidence of one president who believes in the rule of law and works to protect it and one who has nothing but contempt for the rule of law and acts solely in pursuit of his own constantly multiplying corrupt schemes. I yield back.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Gentleman yields back. Without objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. We will now introduce today's witness. The Honorable Robert Hur was appointed as a special counsel in January 2023 to investigate the removal and retention of classified documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

He previously served as the principal associate deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice and as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. He was a law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and also clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We welcome our witness and thank him for appearing today. We'll begin by swearing you in. Mr. Hur, would you please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you're about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information, and beliefs, so help you God? Let the record reflect that the witness has answered in the affirmative. Thank you and you can be seated.

Please know that your written testimony will be entered into the record in its entirety. Accordingly, we ask that you summarize your testimony. Mr. Hur, you may begin with your opening statement. Make sure you got that mic on if you could, Mr. Hur. Thank you.


Chairman Jordan, Ranking Member Nadler, Chairman Comer, Ranking Member Raskin, members of the committee, good morning. I'm privileged to have served our country for the majority of my career, a decade and a half, most of those years with the Department of Justice. I have served as a line prosecutor, a supervisor, the principal associate deputy attorney general, a United States attorney, and a special counsel.

I have served in these roles with gratitude as the son of immigrants to this country, the first member of my family to be born here. My parents grew up in Korea and were young children during the Korean War. My father remembers being hungry and grateful for the food that American GIs shared with him and his siblings. My mother fled, what is now North Korea, in her own mother's arms, heading south to safety. My parents eventually met, married, and came to the U.S., seeking a better life for themselves and for their children.

Their lives and mine, would have been very different were it not for this country. No matter the role, no matter the administration, I have applied the same standards and the same impartiality. My respect for the Justice Department and my commitment to this country are why I agreed to serve as Special Counsel when asked by the Attorney general.

I resolved to do the work as I did all my work for the department. Fairly, thoroughly and professionally with close attention to the policies and practices that govern department prosecutors. My team and I conducted a thorough independent investigation. We identified evidence that the president willfully retained classified materials after the end of his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.

This evidence included an audio recorded conversation during which Mr. Biden told his ghostwriter that he had, "Just found all the classified stuff downstairs". When Mr. Biden said this, he was a private citizen speaking to his ghostwriter in his private rental home in Virginia. We also identified other recorded conversations during which Mr. Biden read classified information aloud to his ghostwriter.

We did not, however, identify evidence that rose to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the evidence fell short of that standard, I decline to recommend criminal charges against Mr. Biden. The department's regulations required me to write a confidential report explaining my decision to the attorney general.

I understood that my explanation about this case had to include rigorous, detailed, and thorough analysis. In other words, I needed to show my work, just as I would expect any prosecutor to show his or her work explaining the decision to prosecute or not.


The need to show my work was especially strong here. The attorney general had appointed me to investigate the actions of the attorney general's boss, the sitting president of the United States. I knew that for my decision to be credible, I could not simply announce that I recommended no criminal charges and leave it at that. I needed to explain why.

My report reflects my best effort to explain why I declined to recommend charging President Biden. I analyzed the evidence, as prosecutors routinely do, by assessing its strengths and weaknesses, including by anticipating the ways in which the president's defense lawyers might poke holes in the government's case, if there were a trial, and seek to persuade jurors that the government could not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

There has been a lot of attention paid to language in the report about the president's memory, so let me say a few words about that. My task was to determine whether the president retained or disclosed national defense information willfully. That means knowingly and with the intent to do something the law forbids.

I could not make that determination without assessing the president's state of mind. For that reason, I had to consider the president's memory and overall mental state, and how a jury likely would perceive his memory and mental state in a criminal trial.

These are the types of issues that prosecutors analyze every day. And because these issues were important to my ultimate decision, I had to include a discussion of them in my report to the attorney general. The evidence and the president himself put his memory squarely at issue. We interviewed the president and asked him about his recorded statement, "I just found all the classified stuff downstairs".

He told us that he didn't remember saying that to his ghostwriter. He also said he didn't remember finding any classified material in his home after his vice presidency. And he didn't remember anything about how classified documents about Afghanistan made their way into his garage.

My assessment in the report about the relevance of the president's memory was necessary and accurate and fair. Most importantly, what I wrote is what I believe the evidence shows and what I expect jurors would perceive and believe. I did not sanitize my explanation, nor did I disparage the president unfairly. I explained to the attorney general my decision and the reasons for it, that's what I was required to do.

I took the same approach when I compared the evidence regarding President Biden to the department's allegations against Former President Trump. There too, I called it like I saw it. As a prosecutor, I had to consider relevant precedents and to explain why different facts justify different outcomes. That is what I did in my report.

I'm confident the analysis set forth in chapters 11, 12, and 13 of my report provides a thorough evaluation and explanation of the evidence, and I encourage everyone to read it to inform their opinions of the report. Prosecutors rarely write public reports or testify about their investigations. That is the Justice Department's long-standing policy, and it protects important interests. My team and I prepared the report to the attorney general with care, and the report stands as the primary source of information. My responses today will be limited to clarifying information for the committee. I will refrain from speculating or commenting on areas outside the scope of the investigation, nor will I discuss what investigative steps we did or did not take beyond what's in the report.

In conclusion, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the attorneys, agents, analysts, and professional staff who helped us do our work fairly, thoroughly, and independently. I am grateful and privileged to have served with them. I single out for particular thanks Deputy Special Counsel Marc Krickbaum, a former United States Attorney himself, who brought great wisdom, skill, and judgment to our task. Thank you. I welcome your questions.

JORDAN: Thank you, Mr. Hur. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from North Dakota for five minutes.

REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

How could that possibly happen? How could anyone be that irresponsible? And I thought, what data was in there that could compromise sources, methods, and it's just totally irresponsible. As President Biden's statement about Donald Trump and the classified documents.

Mr. Hur, classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center?

HUR: That's correct.

ARMSTRONG: They were found in President Biden's garage?

HUR: In Wilmington, Delaware, yes.

ARMSTRONG: And in his basement den?

HUR: Also in the same home, yes.

ARMSTRONG: And his main floor office?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: And his third floor den?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: At the University of Delaware?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: And at the Biden Institute?

HUR: Correct.

[10:40:00] ARMSTRONG: All right. And the elements of the crime for this, I mean, we can't -- we get into all of this, but the elements of the crime are pretty simple, right? The President -- President Biden had unauthorized possession of a document writing or note, that's correct?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: And that the document writing or note related to national defense.

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: And that the defendant, and we may talk about the willfully part here in a second, retained the document writing or note and failed to deliver it to an employee or officer entitled to receive it?

HUR: Correct, there is a willfulness intent element, as you say.

ARMSTRONG: And -- but those are the elements of the crime?

HUR: Including the intent element, yes.

ARMSTRONG: And there are at least two different quotes, right, where he told this ghostwriter -- and this is in your report, in a matter of fact -- and this is February 16, 2017, that he had just found all this classified stuff downstairs.

HUR: He did make that statement that was captured on an audio recording.

ARMSTRONG: And on April 10, 2017, Biden read aloud a classified passage related to a 2015 meeting in the situation room.

HUR: That is in the report, yes.

ARMSTRONG: And these are national security documents. Afghanistan -- I mean, has been mentioned, a whole bunch of those things, right?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: And at one point in time, his personal attorneys and the DOJ attorneys argued about notes, taking all of the different things and compared it to Reagan?

HUR: I'm sorry. Could you repeat that, Congressman?

ARMSTRONG: President Biden's attorneys, personal attorneys, talked about the notes and why they didn't actually account for the Presidential Records Act. But you -- I mean, you found that argument, I -- in your report, it seems a little persuasive, but you eventually said, no, the executive order Trump's, right?

HUR: We did conduct -- we did set forth an analysis of the governing law and ultimately concluded that the executive order 13526 does apply and did govern Former Vice President Biden at the time. JORDAN: So, you have audio recording from his ghostwriter where the president acknowledges that the information he has is classified and he's sharing with his ghostwriter?

HUR: We have an audio recording capturing a statement from Mr. Biden saying to his ghostwriter in February of 2017, "I just found all the classified stuff downstairs".

ARMSTRONG: OK. And then again, reciting passages from a meeting in the situation room?

HUR: Yes.

ARMSTRONG: And those are in President Biden's own words?

HUR: Correct.

ARMSTRONG: Right. So, he's -- again, the ghostwriter has no classified -- no -- he has no clearance -- no classified clearance to anything, correct?

HUR: That is our understanding that Mr. Zwonitzer was not authorized to receive classified information.

ARMSTRONG: OK. So, the elements are possessed documents, the documents related to national defense, and willfully retained those documents. And in this case, shared them with somebody who was not allowed to receive them.

HUR: There are different subsections of 18 U.S.C. 793. One subsection relates to the willful retention, and another relates to disclosure of national defense information.

ARMSTRONG: Well, though -- I mean, the willful retention. We've got the Penn Biden Center, the garage, the basement den, the main floor office, the third floor den, the University of Delaware, and the Biden Institute. We have a 50-year career of a person who has not been very great at dealing with classified documents throughout, even prior to his time as vice president, when he was in the U.S. Senate, right?

HUR: We do address each set of those documents in the report, Congressman.

ARMSTRONG: So, the difference -- but I think this is really important because the difference is, it appears just from reading the report, he has been -- we heard all about exonerated and all those different things. It appears from the report, he met every actual element of the crime.

So, I want to talk about, the department principles on federal prosecution. because that actually has nothing to do with the underlying elements, correct? It's whether or not you can prove this at trial.

HUR: Under the department's justice manual and the principles of federal prosecution, a prosecutor has to assess the evidence and determine whether in his or her judgment, the likely -- the probable outcome will be a conviction at trial.

ARMSTRONG: So, whether or not you meet the elements of the crime, which I think it's clear that it does, the second part of this is this. And that's where it gets into the sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory. You could have just said, we don't prosecute sitting presidents, but you did not, and you entered this.

But that doesn't have anything to do with the actual elements of the crime. That has to do with getting a conviction at trial, correct?

HUR: Well, Congressman, part and parcel of a prosecutor's judgment as to whether or not a conviction is the probable outcome of a trial is assessing how the evidence identified during the investigation lines up with the elements and what proof can be offered to a jury during a trial.

ARMSTRONG: Sure, but his well-meaning elderly old man has nothing to do with the underlying elements of the crime?

HUR: Well, it certainly has something --

ARMSTRONG: It's a presentation to the jury.

HUR: It certainly has something --

ARMSTRONG: I yield back.

JORDAN: The gentleman can respond.

HUR: It certainly has something to do with the way that a jury is going to perceive and receive, and consider and -- make conclusions based on evidence at trial, Congressman.

JORDAN: The time of the gentleman has expired. The Chair now recognizes the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hur, in your written testimony, you say that you found some evidence that the President might have willfully retained classified materials at the end of his vice presidency, correct?

HUR: Correct.


NADLER: But ultimately, you concluded that you could not prove that charge in the court of law. In your words, you quote, "Did not identify evidence that rose to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt", correct?

HUR: That was my judgment.

NADLER: You have been a prosecutor for a long time, Mr. Hur. Would you agree that there's no such thing as being a little bit charged for a crime? You're either charged or you're not, correct? HUR: Could you please repeat the question, Congressman?

NADLER: Would you agree that there's no such thing as being a little bit charged for a crime? You're either charged or you are not charged, correct?

HUR: Yes, it is binary. Either one is not charged --

NADLER: Thank you.

HUR: -- or charged.

NADLER: So, just to be clear, because so many people have taken your words out of context, your ultimate conclusion was that President Biden could not be charged with a crime because even after your thorough investigation, you could not find sufficient evidence to charge him, correct?

HUR: My conclusion was that based on my evaluation of the evidence, as a prosecutor --

NADLER: Don't feel -- it was correct?

HUR: I'm sorry, Congressman, I didn't hear your last question.

NADLER: I said, based on your conclusion, your ultimate conclusion is that President Biden could not be charged with a crime because even after your thorough investigation, you could not find sufficient evidence to charge him, correct or not correct?

HUR: My ultimate conclusion was that criminal charges were not warranted.

NADLER: Correct. Now, let's talk about why -- I have limited time, so please, when I say correct just -- or not correct, answer the question.

Now, let's talk about why, in sharp contrast to President Biden, President Trump faces 40 charges related to the unlawful retention of highly classified documents. That is, of course, apart from the additional 51 counts in cases alleging that he incited a rebellion and lied about his finances. You found that President Biden reported the possible classified documents in his possession to the FBI as soon as he learned of them, correct?

HUR: There was a voluntary disclosure by the President's counsel to authorities relating to the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Bidens.

NADLER: Let's contrast this with President Trump. Are you aware that the FBI only learned that Trump was in possession of classified material after the National Archives discovered them?

HUR: Congressman, I am not intimately familiar with the facts relating to Former President Trump. I'm prepared to comment on them to the extent that I address them in the report. NADLER: OK. You write in your report that President Biden, "Would not have handed the government classified documents from his own home on a silver platter if he had willfully retained those documents for years". In other words, part of understanding President Biden's intent was that he quickly and voluntarily returned those documents to the government, correct?

HUR: That was a factor in our analysis, yes.

NADLER: Thank you. By way of contrast, to the best of your knowledge, why did the Department of Justice seek a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago?

HUR: Congressman, I am not familiar with those deliberations. That is a matter that I had no participation in --

NADLER: Well, I'll tell you it was because they were concerned that Trump had lied about possession of those documents and might conceal or destroy them.

Special Counsel Smith found that President Trump obstructed his investigation by suggesting that his attorney falsely represented the FBI and grand jury, that Trump did not have the documents called for by the grand jury subpoena. At any point in your investigation, you -- do you have any reason to believe that President Biden lied to you?

HUR: I do address in my report one response the President gave to a question that we had posed to him that we deemed to be not credible.

NADLER: Was it clear he didn't lie?

HUR: I'm sorry, Congressman.

NADLER: The report is clear that he didn't lie, or that he caused his staff to lie to you, and that he didn't cause his staff to lie to you. Your report is clear on that.

HUR: I did not --

NADLER: Do you agree that causing someone to lie to the FBI is a classic example of obstruction of justice?

HUR: It is an example of obstruction, yes.

NADLER: Thank you. Trump also obstructed the Smith investigation by directing one of his employees to move boxes of documents to conceal them from Trump's attorney, from the FBI, and from the grand jury. At any point in your investigation, did you find that President Biden directed his staff to conceal documents from you or anyone else?

HUR: We did not reach that conclusion.

NADLER: OK. You would agree that hiding documents is a classic example of obstructing an investigation?

HUR: It is an example of obstruction. NADLER: Thank you. Donald Trump instructed his staff to delete security footage so that the FBI and special counsel could not see how he had tried to move and hide documents. Do you agree that attempting to delete video footage in this manner is plainly an attempt to obstruct an investigation?

HUR: Congressman, I don't want to characterize the evidence in the case against former president --

NADLER: But if that happened, would you agree that the leading video footage is plainly an attempt to obstruct an investigation?

HUR: Congressman, it's the type of evidence that prosecutors would consider and --

NADLER: OK. To sum up, Donald Trump is charged with willfully retaining classified documents and conspiring to conceal those documents, and he's facing additional charges for lying to investigators. Isn't that correct?

HUR: Those are allegations that are in a pending --

NADLER: It's a matter of public record.

HUR: -- indictment against former President Trump.


NADLER: And the reason why President Biden is not facing a single charge, Mr. Hur, is not because you went easy on him, but because after reviewing 7 million documents and interviewing nearly 150 witnesses, including the President himself, you could not prove that he had committed a crime. I yield back.

JORDAN: Gentleman yields back. The gentleman from -- Mr. McClintock, gentleman from California, is recognized.


Mr. Hur, I first want to get this straight. Is it now OK if I take- home top-secret documents, store them in my garage, and read portions of them to friends or associates?

HUR: Congressman, I wouldn't recommend it, but I don't want to entertain any hypotheticals at this point.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, is it OK -- I mean, I can do that now under this new doctrine?

HUR: Again, Congressman, I wouldn't recommend that you do that, but I don't want to --

MCCLINTOCK: Well, you -- you've essentially said so in your report. And certainly, it would be exculpatory if I simply told you, hey, I'm getting old. I don't remember stuff the way I used to.

HUR: Congressman, I'm not here to get into hypotheticals. I'm here to talk about the facts and the work that I did --

MCCLINTOCK: Well, it's not a hypothetical. This is the issue at hand. You correctly noted in your report that former presidents and other senior officials have been given wide latitude in their possession of classified information. And I believe your decision to -- not to prosecute Biden for the same offense is consistent with that precedent.

But the problem is that precedent changed with the administration's decision to prosecute Donald Trump. And the irony is that as president, Trump had full discretion over handling classified material and full discretion in deciding which records to retain. As a senator or vice president, Joe Biden didn't have that.

So, now we get to this glaring double standard. I think it would be toxic to the rule of law on its face if it was just two ordinary citizens. But the fact that the only person being prosecuted for this offense happens to be the President's political opponent makes this an unprecedented assault on our democracy. This is the worst we could expect from a Banana Republic (ph). And I wonder how you square this.

HUR: Congressman, I do address, as I was required to as a prosecutor, a relevant precedent in the form of the alleged -- the allegations in the indictment against former President Trump. I set forth my explanation and my assessment and comparison of those precedents in my report. And I am not here to comment any further beyond what's in my report.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, you said, for example, that there was no evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Well, you got the fact that he had classified material in his possession and control in multiple settings for multiple years. That he told others he was aware of this, and that he shared that material with others. The mind boggles at what beyond reasonable doubt would actually mean.

HUR: Well, as I set forth in -- at length in my explanations in chapters 11 and 12 of the report, my assessment is that the evidence, if presented at trial alongside potential defense arguments, would not probably result in a conviction at trial.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, that's one of the points you make is that President Biden is likely to be an elderly, sympathetic figure with a poor memory. But how does that bear on any individual's guilt or innocence? Isn't that again a question for a judge or jury to decide after guilt or innocence is determined?

HUR: It is --

MCCLINTOCK: And again, here's the problem, Donald Trump's being prosecuted for exactly the same act that you've documented that Joe Biden committed.

HUR: Congressman, if I understood your question correctly, you said, isn't that a question for a jury? And it most certainly, in the -- through the lens of my --

MCCLINTOCK: My question is, does that bear on the guilt or innocence of an individual?

HUR: It certainly bears on how a jury is going to receive and perceive and make decisions --

MCCLINTOCK: So, the answer to my earlier question is correct? All I have to do when I'm caught taking home classified materials is to say, I'm sorry, Mr. Hur, but I'm getting old. My memory's not so great.

HUR: Congressman, I --

MCCLINTOCK: This is the doctrine that you've established in our laws now, and it's frightening.

HUR: Congressman, my intent is certainly not to establish any sort of doctrine. I had a particular task. I have a particular set of evidence to consider and make a judgment with respect to one particular set of evidence, and that is what I did.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, Mr. Hur, here's the fine point of the matter. The foundation of our justice system is equal justice under law. That's what gives the law its respect and its legitimacy. And without it, the law is simply force. Devoid of any moral authority. Justice is depicted as blindfolded for this very reason. It doesn't matter who comes before her. All are treated equally. You destroyed this foundation. And the rule of law becomes a sick mockery. It becomes a weapon to wield against political rivals and a tool of despotism.


And I am desperately afraid that this decision of the Department of Justice has now crossed a very bright line. And I yield back.

HUR: The gentleman yields back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chairman, I ask for unanimous consent to introduce the State of the Union as an exhibit at the end of the hearing.

JORDAN: The -- without objection, that will be introduced.


JORDAN: The ranking members recognize for unanimous consent.

NADLER: Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that a copy of an article in this morning's "Washington Post" entitled, "Full Transcript of Biden's Special Counsel Interview Paints Nuanced Portrait". The president's -- the president doesn't come across as absent minded as Hur has made him out to be.

JORDAN: Without objection.

NADLER: Thank you.

JORDAN: The Chair recognizes -- now recognizes the gentlelady from California for five minutes.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, Mr. Hur, for being here today. I found your report very interesting, and I learned some things about it, the law and the precedence. There are clear differences between the cases of -- and precedence set by Presidents Reagan, Trump, and Biden.

Now, it was widely known that President Reagan kept diaries from his presidency that included classified information. What I didn't know and learned in your report was that the Department of Justice, "Repeatedly described the diaries in public court filings as Mr. Reagan's personal records", and that no agency ever attempted to remove his diaries. That's on page 195 of your report. Very interesting.

So, the investigation found that President Biden believed that his notebooks were his personal property, including work and political notes, reflections, to do lists, and more, that he was entitled to take home. You found that on page 232. So, while much of his notebook was work related, he still had some purely personal subjects like, again, I quote, "Gut-wrenching", entities about the illness and death of his son, Beau, and that's on page 82 and 253 of your report.

So, it's clear, based on the Reagan precedent that no criminal charges were warranted in this matter, relative to personal notebooks. Now, I want to be clear that although the notebooks contain some very personal information, and President Biden considered them his personal property, the President allowed your team to seize and review all of the notebooks you found. Is that correct?

HUR: That is correct.

LOFGREN: Now, that's in stark contrast to ex-President Trump's case. He obstructed and diverted all the investigations. Now, you also interviewed President Biden about other classified documents you found outside his notebooks, didn't you?

HUR: Yes, Congresswoman.

LOFGREN: So, did the President tell you that he believed any documents other than his own handwritten work were his personal property, yes or no?

HUR: We did not hear that from the President during his interview.

LOFGREN: So, again, it's very different from ex-President Trump. Ex- President Trump said all of the documents marked classified where his personal property. President Biden did not consider documents that were produced by other entities with classification markings as his personal records.

Now, I think -- you know, since the majority has tried to assert that there is a disparity based on politics and the differences in the prosecution, it's worth quoting page 11 of the report, which says, and I quote, "Several material distinctions between Mr. Trump's case and Mr. Biden's case are clear. Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite. According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it." That's on page 11.

"In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice consented to the search of multiple locations, including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation."

It's clear that these cases are not the same. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that some of the classified documents were actually personal diaries that many executive officials have taken home with them because it was in their own handwriting. It was what they produced. And based on the Department of Justice public statements during the Reagan administration, it is understandable.