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AG Garland names Robert Hur as special counsel in Biden classified documents matter


(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday announced he has named former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur as a special counsel in the Biden classified documents matter.

Hur, who has been appointed by former President Donald Trump as U.S. Attorney, is currently a litigation partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm.

“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment,” Hur said in a statement released by the Justice Department. “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.”

Garland had tasked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch with conducting a preliminary review of the matter and Thursday he said Lausch had recommended a special counsel be named.

“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.”

A senior Justice Department official said, “This is not a decision [Garland] made lightly but the regulations could not be more clear that based on the facts that resulted from U.S.Attorney Lausch’s initial investigation an appointment of a special counsel in this manner is required.”

“This is a textbook case of what is required under the regulations,” the official said.

Garland said the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president’s handling of classified documents “underscores the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions guided only by the facts and the law.”

“I am confident Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner and in accordance with the highest traditions of this department,” he said.

Garland’s announcement came just hours after the White House revealed that more classified documents had been discovered in the garage at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Congressional Republicans have called on Garland to name a special counsel in the Biden case, just as he did with regard to the classified documents found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Garland laid out more than previously known about of the timeline of how the Biden classified documents came to be at the center of the investigation.

On the evening of Nov. 4, the National Archives inspector general contacted the Justice Department to say the White House had notified the Archives that documents bearing classification markings had been identified at the Penn Biden Center, Biden’s private office after he left as vice president, he aid.

On Nov. 9, FBI agents commenced an assessment to understand whether classified information had been mishandled, according to Garland.

Garland said he then asked Lausch, a Trump appointee, to conduct an initial investigation on whether to appoint a special counsel, which Garland did on Thursday.

On Dec. 20, President Biden’s personal counsel informed Lausch that additional documents bearing classification markings were identified in the garage of Wilmington, Delaware, home.

ABC News has also learned that the FBI has interviewed multiple Biden aides.

On Jan. 5, Lausch advised Garland further investigation by a special counsel was warranted.

In the days since, Garland said, Lausch continued the investigation, and the Justice Department identified Hur for appointment as special counsel.

On Thursday morning, he said, President Biden’s personal counsel called Lausch and stated that an additional document bearing classification markings was identified at the president’s personal residence in Wilmington.

Earlier this week, the White House said lawyers for President Biden had also found classified documents from 2013 to 2016 in his office at the Penn Biden Center – a think tank in Washington, in November.

Asked about the latest documents revelation involving his Wilmington home Thursday morning, Biden said, “The Department of Justice was immediately — as was done, the Department of Justice was immediately notified and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of the documents.

“So you’re going to see, we’re going to see all this unfold,” he said.

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