Special Counsel Appointed for Biden Document Inquiry
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed a special counsel to investigate why documents with classified markings were found at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and at the office of a think tank he once chaired.
The announcement came just hours after Biden acknowledged classified documents from his time as vice president were found in a locked storage space in his garage and his personal library.
Biden’s statement came just days after it was disclosed that other sensitive documents had been found in a locked closet in his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement of the University of Pennsylvania in Washington.
Robert Hur, the former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Maryland, will lead the investigation, taking over from the top Justice Department prosecutor in Chicago, Illinois, John Lausch, who was earlier assigned by the department to investigate the matter.
The Justice Department has, of course, for months been looking into former President Donald Trump’s retention of more than 300 documents with classified markings found at his Florida estate.
Though Biden and Trump’s situations are markedly different, this week’s developments involving the president will surely complicate any prosecution the DOJ might have brought against Trump.
In a statement distributed to reporters this morning, Richard Sauber, a special counsel to the president, said after the initial documents were found by Biden’s personal attorneys, they examined other locations where records might have been shipped after Biden left the vice presidency in 2017.
These locations were his residences in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“The lawyers completed their review last night,” Sauber said, turning up a “small number” of classified documents.
Most of these documents were found in a storage space in Biden’s garage in Wilmington, while one was located in his personal library.
No documents were found in the Rehoboth Beach residence.
“As was done in the case of the Penn Biden Center, the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents,” Sauber said.
“We are fully cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden administration records are appropriately in possession of the archives,” he added.
The latest revelation inspired a testy give and take between Biden and members of the in-town press pool Thursday after the president delivered remarks on a new government report that shows inflation pressures are easing.
Asked by one reporter how he could store classified documents “alongside” his Corvette, the president responded sharply that his Corvette is stored in a locked garage.
“People know I take classified documents seriously,” he continued, adding, “We are cooperating fully with the review of the Department of Justice.”
He also suggested he’ll have more to say on the matter once the DOJ completes its review.
Responding to the breaking news this afternoon, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said, “I think Congress has to investigate this.”
“Here’s an individual that sat on ’60 Minutes’ that was so concerned about President Trump’s documents locked in behind, and now we find that this is a vice president keeping it for years out in the open in different locations,” McCarthy added.