Published on: 13 January 2023 at 11:00 IST
It is reported that U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the presence of documents with classified markings found at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and at an office in Washington.
Previously US President Joe Biden acknowledged that a document with classified markings from his time as Vice-President was found in his personal library, along with other documents found in his garage. It was disclosed on January 9 that sensitive documents were found at the office of his former institute in Washington.
U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland appointed, Robert Hur, the former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Maryland.
Robert Hur will lead the investigation, taking over from the top Justice Department prosecutor in Chicago, John Lausch, who was earlier assigned by the department to investigate the matter. Mr. Hur is to begin his work soon.
The appointment of yet another special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents is a remarkable turn of events, legally and politically, for a Justice Department that has spent months looking into the retention by Donald Trump of more than 300 documents with classification markings found at the former president’s Florida estate.
Special counsel to the President, Richard Sauber said after the initial documents were found by Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers, they examined other locations where records might have been shipped after Mr. Biden left the Vice-Presidency in 2017.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, “I think Congress has to investigate this.” Mr. McCarthy said: “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 for different locations.”
Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that the department was reviewing “a small number of documents with classified markings” found at the Washington office. Mr. Biden’s lawyers had discovered the material at the offices of the Penn Biden Center and then immediately called the National Archives about the discovery, the White House said. Mr. Biden kept an office there after he left the Vice-Presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in 2019.
The revelation that additional classified documents were uncovered by Biden’s team came hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions about Biden’s handling of classified information and the West Wing’s management of the discovery.
The Justice Department is reviewing the records that were found at the Penn Biden Center and Mr. Garland has asked John Lausch, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to review the the matter, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press this week. That person also was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.