Federal law enforcement officials have reportedly interviewed numerous aides who worked for then-Vice President Joe Biden during the final weeks of the Obama administration over how classified materials were handled that ended up at a Biden think tank and at Biden’s home in Delaware.
The news comes as U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur — who served during the Trump administration — to serve as special counsel in the investigation.
“On January 5th, 2023, [U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John] Lausch briefed me on the results of his initial investigation and advised me that further investigation by a special counsel was warranted,” Garland said. “Based on Mr. Lausch’s initial investigation, I concluded that, under the special counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.”
NBC News reported that one of the former Biden aides that federal authorities have contacted is Kathy Chung, who allegedly helped Biden pack up his vice presidential office at the end of the Obama administration. Chung currently works as deputy director of protocol for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the report said.
“The people who were boxing [up the vice presidential office] had no idea that there was anything in there that shouldn’t leave the White House,” a source familiar with the investigation claimed to NBC News. “There was no decision made to take certain documents that should have been presidential records or classified.”
The initial investigation began sometime after Biden’s personal attorney found 10 classified documents stashed in an envelope in the president’s private office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington. The attorney discovered the envelope on November 2, though the discovery was not made public until earlier this week. The documents were immediately turned over to the National Archives for storage, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said on Monday.
Sauber said in a subsequent statement that a review of Biden’s known offices, quarters, and other spaces turned up a second set of classified documents at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, according to The New York Times.
The order signed by Garland said that Hur would investigate “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered.”
“The document authorizes him to investigate whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter,” Garland said at the press conference. “The special counsel will not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the department, but he must comply with the regulations, procedures and policies of the department.”