Special counsel appointed in Biden case - Dispatch Weekly

January 13, 2023 - Reading time: 4 minutes

President Joe Biden’s handling of confidential materials is being looked into by a special counsel that US Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed.

The probe will be led by Robert Hur, a former senior justice department official from the Trump administration.

Recently, Mr. Biden’s house and an office he utilised following his stint as vice president were discovered to contain classified documents.

Mr. Biden will fully cooperate with the probe, according to the White House.

The revelation of the records has been described as a political setback for Mr. Biden since it coincides with an ongoing investigation into the suspected improper handling of secret information by former President Donald Trump.

On November 2, the first group of documents were discovered at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank Mr. Biden established in Washington, DC. The US National Archives received them after that, according to Mr. Biden.

A second set of documents, according to Mr. Garland, were discovered on December 20 at Mr. Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware. He said that on Thursday morning, Mr. Biden’s attorneys called detectives to let them know about an other paper that had also been discovered at the president’s private residence.

US Attorney John Lausch conducted an initial investigation into the incident, and according to Mr. Garland, his office determined that the “exceptional circumstances” of the case required the appointment of a special counsel to look into Mr. Biden’s handling of the papers.

In specific sensitive matters, the department is committed to independence and accountability, and Mr. Garland stated that this appointment “underscores for the public the department’s commitment to making decisions unquestionably informed solely by the facts and the law.”

Mr. Hur promised to look into the matter “with fairness, impartiality, and dispassionate judgement.”

Mr. Biden has completely cooperated with the justice department’s probe, according to White House attorney Richard Sauber, and he will continue to do so.

He said, “We are certain that a careful examination will demonstrate that these records were mistakenly misplaced, and the President and his counsel acted swiftly upon learning of this error.

The BBC’s US partner, CBS, was informed by sources with knowledge of the matter that the investigation has thus far involved speaking with people who might be aware of how the secret information were handled.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Mr. Biden emphasised once more that he took the situation seriously and that his lawyers had informed officials of the discovery.

He said that the extra documents were “not sitting out in the street,” but rather were secured in a garage adjacent to his 1960s Chevrolet Corvette sports car.

According to Mr. Sauber, the subsequent search in Mr. Biden’s garage turned up “a small number of additional Obama-Biden Administration records with classified markings amid personal and political papers.”

Attorneys also investigated Mr. Biden’s Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, residence but were unable to locate any further documents.

Mr. Biden is now being questioned about whether the recently found files contain confidential material that would have jeopardised US national security issues.

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, expressed worries about the timing of the discovery’s disclosure.

Prior to the (US midterm) election, “they knew this had happened to President Biden, but they kept it a secret from the American public,” Mr. McCarthy claimed.

The Justice Department is currently looking into Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Mr. Trump, after more than 325 sensitive documents, including some stamped with Secret and Top Secret classifications, were found at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida last year.

Investigators stated that they are examining if Mr. Trump broke the law by impeding the document recovery process or by destroying official records. Any misbehaviour by the former president has been refuted.​

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.