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Biden defends memory after classified documents report: The Morning Rundown, Feb. 9, 2024

Feb 9

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President Biden fires back after a special counsel report questions his memory. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is asked about releasing a Wall Street Journal reporter detained in his country. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

Biden defends memory after special counsel report on classified documents

“My memory is fine. My memory – take a look at what I’ve done since I become president,” Biden said. “None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How’d that happen? You know, I guess I just forgot what was going on.”

President Joe Biden answered questions about his memory at the White House on Thursday night, Feb. 8, following the release of a report by the special counsel investigating his handling of classified documents.

While special counsel Robert Hur found that Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified military and national security information, he recommended the president not face any charges. Hur also noted that Biden cooperated with the investigation. In the nearly 400-page report, Biden’s memory was called into question, at times referring to it as “hazy,” “fuzzy,” “faulty,” and having “significant limitations.”

According to Hur, Biden had trouble remembering key dates such as the years he was vice president or when his son Beau died, a claim the president vehemently countered.

“I know there’s some attention paid to some language in the report about my recollection of events,” Biden said. “There’s even reference that I don’t remember when my son died. 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.”

Hur also concluded that Biden should not be charged because of how a jury could potentially see him, describing the 81-year-old president as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

“I am well-meaning. And I’m an elderly man. And I know what the hell I’m doing,” Biden said. “I’ve been president — I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation.”

Biden calls Israel’s response in Gaza ‘over the top’

After responding to questions about the special counsel’s report, President Biden was asked about the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas and the fighting in Gaza. Biden said Israel’s military response in Gaza has been “over the top,” in what is being considered the president’s sharpest public criticism of Israel’s operations in the territory.

The president said he’s seeking a “sustained pause in the fighting” to help aid Palestinian civilians. Biden said “a lot of innocent people are starving and dying” in Gaza, and “it’s got to stop.” Before Biden’s comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a cease-fire proposal from Hamas, saying the terms were “bizarre.”

Trump wins Nevada caucuses; SCOTUS hears Colorado ballot case

After winning the Nevada caucuses, former President Donald Trump moved closer to being the GOP nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Trump was the only major candidate competing in the caucuses, winning the state’s 26 delegates.

Earlier on Thursday, Feb. 8, Trump’s eligibility to run for another term was the focus during a hearing at the Supreme Court. The justices heard arguments from both sides on Colorado’s Supreme Court ruling to ban Trump from the state’s ballot over Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the insurrection clause.

Straight Arrow News political reporter Ray Bogan reported that the justices asked tough questions of both sides, but two of the court’s liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, directed particularly difficult questions to the lawyer representing Colorado’s voters.

“I guess my question is why the framers would have designed a system that would, could result in interim dis-uniformity in this way,” Justice Jackson said. “Where we have elections pending and different states suddenly saying you’re eligible, you’re not, on the basis of this kind of thing.”

You can read Ray’s full report here.

Zelenskyy fires top general; Putin speaks on detained WSJ reporter

In a major shakeup on Thursday, Feb. 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired his top general after nearly two years of the country’s war with Russia. In a post on X, Zelenksyy thanked the outgoing general for his service but said, “The time for… a renewal is now.”

Zelenskyy has appointed the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces to be the new leader of the army. The change came as the Senate voted to advance a standalone $95 billion national security bill for additional aid to Ukraine, Israel, and other U.S. allies.

Meanwhile, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin to his website and X on Thursday, Feb. 8.

The interview, lasting more than two hours, was Putin’s first with Western media since the start of the war. During the interview, Putin said Russia would be open to a prisoner exchange, which would see the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained since March 2023.

Putin repeated Russia’s claims that Gershkovich was guilty of espionage. Allegations that the reporter, the newspaper, and the U.S. government deny. The Wall Street Journal said it was encouraged to see Russia’s desire for a deal.

“Evan is a journalist, and journalism is not a crime. Any portrayal to the contrary is total fiction,” the Journal said. “Evan was unjustly arrested and has been wrongfully detained by Russia for nearly a year for doing his job, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”

Feds offer $10 million reward for info on hive ransomware hackers

On Thursday, Feb. 8, the State Department announced a $10 million reward for anyone who could provide information about the identification and/or location of anyone who holds “a key leadership position in the Hive ransomware variant transnational organized crime group.” According to the State Department, the Hive group has targeted victims in more than 80 countries across over 1,500 institutions, leading to more than $100 million in theft.

In 2022, the FBI penetrated Hive’s network, helping prevent more victims from paying up to $130 million in ransoms. The State Department is also offering a reward of $5 million for any information that leads to an arrest of anyone from any country trying to take part in Hive ransomware activity.

Americans to eat 1.45 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 11, is almost here. That means there’s the potential for lots of touchdowns, lots of celebrity-filled commercials, and lots of chicken wings. Make that lots and lots of wings. Americans are expected to eat 1.45 billion wings during the big game. That’s a billion with a “B.”

There is a side of good news to go with all those wings. According to the National Chicken Council, the price of wings is down compared to this time last year. The cost of fresh chicken wings is down 5%, and frozen chicken wings are 11% cheaper.

As of January, AARP reports fresh and frozen chicken wings average $3.26 and $3.17 respectively per pound. Just something to chew on as we get closer to kickoff.

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PRESIDENT BIDEN FIRES BACK AFTER A SPECIAL COUNSEL REPORT QUESTIONS HIS MEMORY

AND — RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN IS ASKED ABOUT RELEASING A WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER DETAINED IN HIS COUNTRY

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “My memory is fine. My memory – take a look at what I’ve done since I become president. None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How’d that happen? You know, I guess I just forgot what was going on.”

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ANSWERing QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS MEMORY AT THE WHITE HOUSE THURSDAY NIGHT —  FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF A REPORT BY THE SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATING HIS HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS.

WHILE SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT HUR FOUND THAT BIDEN WILLFULLY RETAINED AND DISCLOSED CLASSIFIED MILITARY AND NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION, HE RECOMMENDED THE PRESIDENT NOT FACE ANY CHARGES — ALSO NOTING  BIDEN COOPERATED WITH THE INVESTIGATION.

BUT INSIDE THE 345-PAGE REPORT – BIDEN’S MEMORY WAS CALLED INTO QUESTION – AT TIMES REFERRING TO IT AS HAZY, FUZZY, FAULTY AND HAVING “SIGNIFICANT LIMITATIONS.”

ACCORDING TO HURBIDEN HAD TROUBLE REMEMBERING KEY DATES – SUCH AS THE YEARS HE WAS VICE PRESIDENT OR WHEN HIS SON BEAU DIED – A CLAIM THE PRESIDENT VEHEMENTLY COUNTERED.

BIDEN: “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. 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.”

THE SPECIAL COUNSEL ALSO CONCLUDED BIDEN SHOULD NOT BE CHARGED BECAUSE OF HOW A JURY COULD POTENTIALLY SEE HIM – DESCRIBING THE 81-YEAR-OLD PRESIDENT AS A “WELL-MEANING, ELDERLY MAN WITH A POOR MEMORY.”

BIDEN: “I am well-meaning. And I’m an elderly man. And I know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve been president – I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation.”

AFTER RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S REPORT – PRESIDENT BIDEN WAS ASKED ABOUT THE ONGOING WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS – AND THE FIGHTING IN GAZA.

BIDEN – SAYING ISRAEL’S MILITARY RESPONSE IN GAZA HAS BEEN QUOTE “OVER THE TOP” – IN WHAT IS BEING CONSIDERED THE PRESIDENT’S SHARPEST PUBLIC CRITICISM OF ISRAEL’S OPERATIONS IN THE TERRITORY.

THE PRESIDENT SAYING HE’S SEEKING A “SUSTAINED PAUSE IN THE FIGHTING” TO HELP AID PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS.

BIDEN SAYING “A LOT OF INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE STARVING AND DYING” IN GAZA AND “IT’S GOT TO STOP.”

A DAY EARLIER — ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU REJECTED A CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL FROM HAMAS – SAYING THE TERMS WERE “BIZARRE.”

LAST NIGHT — FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP MOVED CLOSER TO BEING THE GOP NOMINEE FOR THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – AFTER WINNING THE NEVADA CAUCUSES. TRUMP WAS THE ONLY MAJOR CANDIDATE COMPETING IN THE CAUCUSES – WINNING THE STATE’S 26 DELEGATES.

EARLIER IN THE DAY — TRUMP’S **ELIGIBILITY TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM WAS THE FOCUS DURING A HEARING AT THE SUPREME COURT.

THE JUSTICES HEARD ARGUMENTS FROM BOTH SIDES ON COLORADO’S SUPREME COURT RULING TO BAN TRUMP FROM THE STATE’S BALLOT OVER SECTION 3 OF THE 14TH AMENDMENT – KNOWN AS THE INSURRECTION CLAUSE.

OUR RAY BOGAN HAS MORE FROM WASHINGTON.

REPORTER RAY BOGAN: “THE JUSTICES ASKED TOUGH QUESTIONS OF BOTH SIDES, BUT TWO OF THE COURT’S LIBERAL JUSTICES, ELENA KAGAN AND KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, DIRECTED PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT QUESTIONS TO THE LAWYER REPRESENTING COLORADO’S VOTERS….

JUSTICE ELANA KAGAN: “This question of whether a former president is disqualified for insurrection to be president again, is, just say it, it sounds awfully national to me. So whatever means there are to enforce it would suggest that they have to be federal, national means. If you weren’t from Colorado and you were from Wisconsin, or you were from Michigan, and it really, you know, what the Michigan Secretary of State did is going to make the difference between, you know, whether Candidate A is elected or Candidate B is elected man seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?”

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: “I guess my question is why the framers would have designed a system that would, could result in interim dis-uniformity in this way. Where we have elections pending and different states suddenly saying you’re eligible, you’re not, on the basis of this kind of thing.”

YOU CAN FIND RAY’S FULL REPORT ON OUR WEBSITE SAN DOT COM.

IN A MAJOR SHAKEUP ON THURSDAY – UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY FIRED HIS TOP GENERAL AFTER NEARLY TWO YEARS OF THE COUNTRY’S WAR WITH RUSSIA.

IN A POST ON X – ZELENKSYY THANKED THE OUTGOING GENERAL FOR HIS SERVICE BUT SAID “THE TIME FOR A RENEWAL IS NOW.”

ZELENSKYY HAS APPOINTED THE COMMANDER OF UKRAINE’S GROUND FORCES TO BE THE NEW LEADER OF THE ARMY.

THE CHANGE CAME AS THE SENATE VOTED TO ADVANCE A STANDALONE 95 BILLION DOLLAR NATIONAL SECURITY BILL FOR ADDITIONAL AID TO UKRAINE, ISRAEL AND OTHER U.S. ALLIES.

MEANWHILE – FORMER FOX NEWS HOST TUCKER CARLSON POSTED HIS INTERVIEW WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN TO HIS WEBSITE AND X.

THE INTERVIEW – LASTING MORE THAN TWO HOURS – WAS PUTIN’S FIRST WITH WESTERN MEDIA SINCE THE START OF THE WAR.

DURING THE INTERVIEW — PUTIN SAID RUSSIA WOULD BE OPEN TO A PRISONER EXCHANGE WHICH WOULD SEE THE RELEASE OF WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERKSHKOVICH WHO HAS BEEN DETAINED SINCE MARCH 2023.

PUTIN REPEATED RUSSIA’S CLAIMS THAT GERKSHKOVICH WAS GUILTY OF ESPIONAGE —

SAYING THE REPORTER WAS “CAUGHT RED HANDED.”

ALLEGATIONS – THE REPORTER, THE NEWSPAPER AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT DENY.

IN A STATEMENT – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL SAID IT WAS ENCOURAGED TO SEE RUSSIA’S DESIRE FOR A DEAL – ADDING:

“EVAN IS A JOURNALIST, AND JOURNALISM IS NOT A CRIME.  ANY PORTRAYAL TO THE CONTRARY IS TOTAL FICTION. EVAN WAS UNJUSTLY ARRESTED AND HAS BEEN WRONGFULLY DETAINED BY RUSSIA FOR NEARLY A YEAR FOR DOING HIS JOB, AND WE CONTINUE TO DEMAND HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”

THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS OFFERING 10 MILLION DOLLARS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE IDENTIFICATION OR LOCATION OF LEADERS IN THE HIVE RANSOMWARE CRIME GROUP.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS THE GROUP HAS TARGETED OVER 15-HUNDRED INSTITUTIONS IN 80 COUNTRIES — SUCH AS SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND FINANCIAL FIRMS — LEADING TO MORE THAN 100 MILLION DOLLARS IN THEFT.

IN 2022 — THE FBI SEIZED HIVE’S COMPUTERS IN CALIFORNIA — PREVENTING VICTIMS FROM HAVING TO PAY 130 MILLION DOLLARS IN RANSOM.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS ALSO OFFERING A REWARD OF 5-MILLION DOLLARS FOR ANY INFORMATION THAT LEADS TO THE ARREST OF ANYONE, FROM ANY COUNTRY, TRYING TO TAKE PART IN HIVE’S RANSOMWARE ACTIVITY.

FINALLY THIS MORNING — SUPER BOWL SUNDAY IS ALMOST HERE. THAT MEANS THERE’S THE POTENTIAL FOR LOTS OF TOUCHDOWNS, LOTS OF CELEBRITY-FILLED COMMERCIALS, AND LOTS OF CHICKEN WINGS.  MAKE THAT — LOTS AND LOTS OF WINGS.

AMERICANS ARE EXPECTED TO EAT NEARLY ONE AND A HALF BILLION WINGS DURING THE BIG GAME. THAT’S BILLION WITH A B.

THERE IS A SIDE OF GOOD NEWS TO GO WITH ALL THOSE WINGS. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL CHICKEN COUNCIL — THE PRICE OF WINGS ARE DOWN COMPARED TO THIS TIME LAST YEAR.

THE COST FOR FRESH CHICKEN WINGS IS DOWN 5 PERCENT

AND FROZEN CHICKEN WINGS ARE 11 PERCENT CHEAPER COMPARED TO 2023.

JUST SOMETHING TO CHEW ON AS WE GET CLOSER TO KICKOFF.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS FRIDAY.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE ON MONDAY.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!