Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
CNN  — 

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday ramped up his criticism of special counsel Robert Hur’s decision not to charge President Joe Biden over his handling of classified documents, while repeatedly questioning his successor’s mental acuity and peddling conspiratorial claims about former President Barack Obama.

Less than two days after the release of Hur’s report, Trump is trying to weaponize its language – which described Biden as forgetful and said he acted improperly, though not criminally – to cast doubt over the president’s mental fitness and accuse the Justice Department of bias. The long riffs also serve to deflect from Trump’s own, more serious legal concerns – which Hur, in his report, outlined in damning terms.

In a scattershot speech to supporters in South Carolina, Trump rolled out a wave of attacks on Biden. He claimed his rival was effectively incapacitated, operating under the influence of Obama – “I think Barack Obama has a lot to do with running the country right now,” Trump said. He also portrayed the president as the leader of a nefarious plot to derail Trump’s campaign with politically motivated criminal accusations, investigations and indictments.

“If Joe Biden is not fit to charge, they are not going to judge him with a crime, but it’s OK for him to become commander in chief?” Trump said. “Biden is bad for democracy because he’s grossly incompetent. … Plus, he uses DOJ and FBI and everything he can to go after an opponent and nothing has ever happened like that in this country.”

Biden has repeatedly said he would not instruct his Justice Department to investigate Trump nor push for any outcome if Attorney General Merrick Garland went forward – as he has – with probes into the former president. Garland and others in the DOJ have also said they are working independent of the White House.

The former president, flipping his own script, also said Biden was actually worse off not being charged because of the language used by Hur to describe the president’s forgetfulness.

“Crooked Joe got off scot-free and I don’t know if you call it scot-free. They said he was a mental basket case,” Trump said.

In actuality, Hur framed his report around the reasons he did not believe a jury would convict Biden, whom he said would likely portray himself as an “elderly man with a poor memory” in a bid to win jurors’ sympathy.

Republicans have long drawn parallels between Hur’s investigation and that of special counsel Jack Smith, despite critical differences in the two cases. (Smith brought charges against Trump last year related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House.)

Hur was careful to note the distinction in his report – specifying that Biden cooperated with the investigation and returned the documents, while Trump did not return his documents and, when asked, sought to cover it up.

“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.” Hur wrote. “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.”

Hur added: “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.”

Earlier on Saturday, the White House responded with a memo citing examples of Biden being described as “sharp” and “alert.”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates singled out a series of notable individuals who have met with Biden recently and described him as engaged – among them the father of a freed hostage, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy – and listed the administration’s accomplishments on infrastructure and the economy.

“This undeniable record speaks to why it’s no surprise that Republican officials’ continue their desperate – and inadvertently self-undermining – age attacks after many years of failure: they’re afraid of Joe Biden,” Bates wrote.

Bates also sought to use the recent GOP crack-up over a bipartisan border and foreign aid bill as an example of the president’s sharpness and undiminished pol