Special Counsel Named To Investigate How Classified Documents Ended Up At Joe Biden’s Office And Home

Attorney General Merrick Garland named Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate how batches of classified documents ended up at an office of President Joe Biden and at his home in Wilmington.

Hur was previously a federal prosecutor appointed during the Trump administration, serving as U.S. attorney for the district of Maryland.

The initial batch of documents were found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., where Biden maintained an office after serving as vice president. Garland said that the National Archives’ inspector general informed a DOJ prosecutor on Nov. 4 that it got word from the White House that the documents had been identified at the offices. Garland said that he appointed Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch to conduct an initial review of the matter.

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In brief remarks, Garland said that on December 20, Biden’s personal attorney informed Lausch that additional documents were found in the garage of Biden’s residence in Wilmington, DE. Lausch then recommended to Garland that he appoint a special counsel. Biden’s personal counsel called Lausch this morning to inform him that an additional classified document was found at the Biden residence.

Garland said that it was in the “public interest” to appoint a special counsel. He said that his order authorizes Hurr to investigate whether any “person or entity” violated the law “in connection with this matter.”

“I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity,” Garland said. “But under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter. This appointment underscores for the public the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.”

Seeking to avoid any appearance of bias, Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to review former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified material found at Mar-a-Lago, and whether there was potential obstruction of that investigation. Smith also is tasked with investigating whether there was an effort to interfere with the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election and the certification of the electoral vote on Jan. 6, 2021. At the time he appointed Smith, Garland cited the need for a special counsel because of Trump’s recently announced presidential bid and of Biden’s intention to run for re-election.

The appointment of a special counsel in the Biden case follows calls from some Republicans in Congress for Garland to do just that.

Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, said in a statement that they “have cooperated from the moment we informed the Archives that a small number of documents were found, and we will continue to cooperate. We have cooperated closely with the Justice Department Counsel. We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.”

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