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Robert Namer
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January 20, 2023

     Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland named a special counsel to investigate the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents that were discovered at President Biden’s office and home.

  "This was done so that the White House can say "no comment. "The wrongdoing is obvious and clear.

     Garland tapped the former U.S. attorney for Maryland, Robert Hur, to conduct the investigation and examine whether “any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter.” Appointed as a U.S. attorney by former President Trump, Hur previously served as a principal associate deputy attorney general. He is expected to begin work in the coming days.  Hur said in a statement that he “will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment.”  “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor,” he continued, “and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”

     A special counsel has substantial independence in conducting an investigation, but ultimately the decision on whether to prosecute is left to the attorney general. Hur’s appointment “underscores for the public the department’s commitment to both independence and accountability for particularly sensitive matters,” said Garland, who was appointed by Biden.  Documents with classification markings were found in two unsecured locations that Biden used after he served as vice president: the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington and his private residence in Wilmington, Del. The White House counsel’s office said Thursday that Biden’s home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., was also searched but that no classified documents were found.

     Presidential records, including information created by or for the vice president, must be handed off to the National Archives the day a new president is sworn in. Several presidents have left the White House with a few things they shouldn’t have, and the National Archives had to retrieve them. Usually it’s treated as a misunderstanding and the items are returned without fanfare, but mishandling classified documents, which are typically tightly controlled by intelligence agencies, is a different matter.  

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