U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that he has appointed a special counsel to investigate President Joe Biden over classified documents that were found in a private office and in the garage at his home.
Garland appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur — who served during the Trump administration — to serve as special counsel in the investigation after the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch, who was assigned to do an initial review of the case, recommended to Garland that a special counsel be appointed.
“On January 5th, 2023, Mr. Lausch briefed me on the results of his initial investigation and advised me that further investigation by a special counsel was warranted. 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,” Garland said. “In the days since, while Mr. Lausch continued the investigation, the department identified Mr. Hur for appointment as special counsel.”
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.”
#BREAKING: Attorney General Merrick Garland has named Robert Hur as Special Counsel regarding the investigation of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center and his Wilmington home. pic.twitter.com/ph0MAohEdk
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 12, 2023
The review 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 statement that a review of Biden’s known offices, quarters, and other spaces turned up a second set of classified documents, these located at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, according to The New York Times.
Biden responded to the news about the second batch of classified documents that were found in his garage by claiming to reporters that they were “locked” up next to his Corvette.
“Classified material next to your Corvette?” Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden during a press conference. “What were you thinking?”
“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?” Biden responded. “So it’s not like they’re sitting out in the street.”
When asked by Doocy to confirm that the classified documents were in a locked garage, Biden responded, “Yes, as well as my Corvette.”
Tim Pearce contributed to this report.
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