Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed U.S. Attorney Robert Hur to serve as special counsel to investigate President Biden’s handling of classified material.
On Monday, sources revealed that classified documents were found in an office used by President Joe Biden at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. On Wednesday, it was disclosed that classified documents were also found in other locations, including Biden’s home in Delaware and in a Corvette stored in his garage.
In prepared remarks from the Department of Justice (DOJ) headquarters in Washington, Garland said: “This appointment underscores for the public the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions indisputably guided only by facts and the law.”
Garland added that the “extraordinary circumstances” warranted the appointment.
The Epoch Times noted that regulations require the attorney general to appoint a special counsel when a criminal investigation is warranted and when “prosecution by the Department of Justice presents a conflict of interest for the Department” or that the public interest would be best served if a special counsel were appointed “to assume responsibility for the matter.”
The appointment of a special counsel comes after lawyers for Biden said they discovered documents with classified markings at the Penn Biden Center and in two areas of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Reportedly, the documents pertain to the years Biden served as vice president.
Controversy concerning the documents has been fueled by reports that:
Some classified documents were found days before the midterm elections but were only recently disclosed to the public.
Some documents reportedly pertain to Hunter Biden’s business dealings and board appointment to an energy company in Ukraine.
At least 10 officials at the Penn Biden Center were later elevated to notable government positions after Biden became president.
Financial disclosure documents note that the Penn Biden Center received at least $22 million in donations from anonymous Chinese sources.
Earlier this week, President Biden said he was “surprised to learn” of the discovery of documents inside the offices at Penn Biden Center in Washington, adding that “I don’t know what’s in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were.”
On Thursday morning, Biden attempted to minimize the growing conflict by telling reporters: “People know, I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review.”
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pointedly asked the president to explain why classified documents were in his garage:
“Classified material next to your Corvette?” Doocy asked. “What were you thinking?”
Biden replied: “Let me, I’m going to get a chance to speak on all this, God willing, soon, but as I said earlier this week, people and, by the way, my Corvette’s in a locked garage, OK? So it’s not like they’re sitting out in the street.”
When asked to confirm that classified documents were in a locked garage on his property, Biden responded, “Yes, as well as my Corvette.”
According to Garland, the DOJ was notified of the first batch of classified documents on Nov. 4, two days after they were discovered. The find was disclosed to the public on Jan. 9, 2023.
The Epoch Times included a timeline of classified document discovery in their report:
- Nov. 2, 2022: President Biden’s attorneys find files with classified markings at Penn Biden Center, where President worked from 2017 to 2019. (White House)
- Nov. 2, 2022: Biden’s attorneys notify NARA of discovery. (White House)
- Nov. 3, 2022: NARA takes possession of documents. (White House)
- Nov. 4, 2022: NARA inspector general’s office alerts prosecutor with DOJ. (Attorney General Garland)
- Nov. 9, 2022: FBI launches assessment to try to figure out whether any classified information was mishandled, in violation of the law. (Garland)
- Nov. 14, 2022: Garland assigns U.S. Attorney Lausch to conduct an initial investigation. (Garland)
- Dec. 20, 2022: Biden’s lawyers inform Lausch that more documents bearing classified markings were found at Biden’s residence in Wilmington. FBI agents travel to location and secure the documents. (Garland and White House)
- Jan. 5, 2023: Lausch briefs Garland and advises further investigation by special counsel is warranted. (Garland)
- Jan. 9, 2023: White House discloses discovery of documents at Penn Biden Center. (White House)
- Jan. 12, 2023: Biden lawyers inform Lausch one more document was found at Biden’s home. (Garland)
- Jan. 12, 2023: White House discloses discovery of documents at Wilmington residence. (White House)
- Jan. 12, 2023: Garland appoints Richard Hur as special counsel. (Garland)
Garland concluded his statement by saying that Hur would investigate “whether any person or entity violated the law with this matter.”
In a follow-up statement, Hur said, “I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment. I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”