12th January, 2023
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed former federal prosecutor Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate the discovery of classified government records at the private home and office of President Joe Biden.
CNBC reports that Garland’s announcement came hours after Biden and his lawyer said that a second batch of classified documents recently had been found in a garage in the president’s private home in Wilmington, Delaware.
A first batch of classified documents had been found on Nov. 2 by lawyers for the president in an office in a Washington think tank that Biden had used while a private citizen.
Garland previously had assigned John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for Chicago, to handle the inquiry after the first batch of records was discovered.
“This is not a decision [Garland] made lightly,” a senior Department of Justice official told NBC News, referring to Hur’s appointment.
“The regulations could not be more clear that based on the facts that made the US attorney launch his initial investigation, an appointment of a special counsel is required,” the official said.
Garland in November appointed another former federal prosecutor, Jack Smith, as special counsel to oversee two criminal investigations of President Donald Trump.
One of those probes is focused on whether Trump violated federal law requiring presidents to turn over government records to the National Archives and Records Administration when they leave office, and whether Trump obstructed justice when authorities sought to obtain such records he kept at his Florida residence.
FBI agents during an August raid on Trump’s home in his Mar-a-Lago club found thousands of government records, hundreds of which had classified markings on them.