Attorney General Merrick Garland notified congressional lawmakers that Special Counsel Robert Hur has submitted his final report after months of investigating President Biden’s alleged improper retention of classified records.
Garland, in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ranking Member Jerry Nadler, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, Garland said Hur submitted the final report on Feb. 5 to the Justice Department.
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“Prior to submitting his report to me, Special Counsel Hur engaged with the White House Counsel’s Office and President’s personal counsel to allow comments on the report,” Garland wrote. “That included review by the White House Counsel’s Office for executive privilege consistent with the President’s constitutional prerogatives.”
Garland, though, said the White House’s privilege review “has not yet concluded.”
“As I have made clear regarding each Special Counsel who has served since I have taken office, I am committed to making as much of the Special Counsel’s report public as possible, consistent with legal requirements and Department policy,” Garland wrote.
Garland vowed to “produce to Congress the report, its appendices, and the letter from counsel following completion of the White House’s privilege review.”
Hur has been investigating Biden’s improper retention of classified records since last year. Reports suggest there will be no charges filed against the president.
Classified records were first found inside the Washington, D.C., offices of the Penn Biden Center think tank on Nov. 2, 2022, but only disclosed to the public in early January 2023.
A second stash of classified documents was also found inside the garage of the president’s home in Wilmington in December but revealed to the public earlier this month, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint former U.S. Attorney Rob Hur to serve as special counsel.
Days later, additional classified documents were found in the president’s home in Delaware. The FBI conducted a more than 12-hour search of Biden’s Delaware home Friday, seizing additional classified records.
Biden has defended the storing of classified documents in the past.
“By the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage, so it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street,” he once said.
But Garland, on Nov. 18, 2022, appointed former DOJ official Jack Smith to serve as special counsel to investigate whether Trump was improperly retaining classified records at Mar-a-Lago.
When Smith was appointed to investigate Trump, Garland and top DOJ officials were simultaneously conducting an internal review of President Biden’s mishandling of classified records. That review, and the discovery of classified records at Biden’s office, was not disclosed to the public until January.
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Republicans and allies of former President Trump were outraged, blasting the Justice Department for a double standard.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all 37 felony charges out of Smith’s probe. The charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.
Trump, the 2024 GOP front-runner, was then charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment out of Smith’s investigation – an additional count of willful retention of national defense information and two additional obstruction counts. Trump pleaded not guilty.
That trial is set to begin on May 20, 2024.
Biden’s aides told Axios earlier this week that they are fearful former President Trump’s campaign could use the photos against the Democrat incumbent ahead of their likely 2024 rematch.
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Anthony Coley, a former senior adviser to Garland, accused the Biden team of slow-walking discovery in the president’s classified records case, versus the handling of the Trump probe.
“Against the backdrop of former President Trump’s indictment on charges of willful and deliberate retention of classified documents, the Biden team’s drip, drip, drip of information made the discoveries seem even worse,” he wrote in an op-ed.
Reports this week suggested the Biden campaign was concerned about potentially embarrassing photos included in Hur’s expected report.
The campaign was concerned that the images would show how Biden stored classified materials. The classified documents were carried over from Biden’s time as former President Obama’s vice president.
Hur interviewed Biden at the White House – an interview that lasted two days. The White House said the president’s interview with Hur was “voluntary.”
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Last year, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, who is co-leading the impeachment inquiry against President Biden, began investigating whether the sensitive, classified documents Biden retained involved specific countries or individuals that had financial dealings with Biden family members or their related companies.
Comer questioned why Biden would have kept certain classified materials and asked Hur to provide his committee with a list of the countries named in any documents with classification markings recovered from Penn Biden Center, Biden’s residence, including the garage, in Wilmington, Delaware, or elsewhere; and a list of all individuals named in those documents with classification markings; and all documents found with classified markings.
It is unclear if Hur cooperated with Comer’s request.