Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate President Biden’s handling of classified documents dating back to the Obama administration on Thursday.
Garland tapped Robert Hur, a former United States Attorney, to handle the investigation. The Justice Department escalated to a special counsel investigation from a mere review on Thursday after a second stash of classified documents was found inside the garage of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home. The first documents were found inside the Washington offices of the Penn Biden Center think tank.
“I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner and in accordance with the highest traditions of this department,” Garland said Thursday. “
The White House Counsel’s Office searched Biden’s two residences in Rehoboth Beach and Wilmington, Delaware in December after news of the first documents broke. White House lawyers say they immediately contacted the DOJ when they discovered the documents inside the Wilmington garage on December 20. There has been no indication of what the documents contain or whether Biden or anyone else read them after leaving office as vice president.
“Lawyers discovered among personal and political papers a small number of additional Obama-Biden administration records with classified markings. All but one of these documents were found in storage space in the President’s Wilmington residence garage,” White House lawyers wrote in a Thursday statement. “One document consisting of one page was discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room.”
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Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement at the Department of Justice on April 26, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
(Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
The White House says no documents were found at Biden’s residence in Rehoboth Beach. Biden’s administration has also arranged to deliver the documents to the DOJ.
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The Wilmington documents are the second stash of Obama-era classified documents to be uncovered. The first collection was found at Washington offices of the Penn Biden Center, a Biden-aligned think tank.
Biden sparred with Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy over the second group of documents on Thursday.
“Classified documents next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?” Doocy asked.
“I’m going to get the chance to speak on all of this, God willing it’ll be soon, but I said earlier this week — and by the way my Corvette is in a locked garage. It’s not like it’s sitting out in the street,” Biden responded.
“So the documents were in a locked garage,” Doocy prompted.
“Yes, as well as my Corvette. But as I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously,” Biden said. “I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review.”
Joe Biden backs his Corvette into a garage in a campaign video released Aug. 5, 2020.
(Joe Biden for President)
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The discovery echoes revelations last year that former President Donald Trump had housed a trove of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida after leaving office. The FBI ultimately raided his residence to recover some 300 classified documents.