Special Counsel to investigate Biden’s records affair • NEWS.AT

An independent special investigator is to investigate the discovery of various secret documents in the private rooms of US President Joe Biden from his time as Vice President. This is in the public interest, said US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday at a short-notice appearance in Washington. Garland was chosen by Biden as Attorney General and is now outsourcing the politically sensitive investigations – as previously in a similar case involving ex-President Donald Trump.

The investigation into Biden is to be led by lawyer Robert Hur. In the past few days it has become known that classified information from Biden’s time as deputy has been discovered in various places. These include private offices in the capital Washington as well as the Bidens house in Wilmington in the state of Delaware. The first tranche had already been discovered on November 2nd – shortly before the important congressional elections in the USA, which took place only a few days later on November 8th.

The White House emphasized that Biden’s lawyers immediately informed the National Archives, which is responsible for storing such documents. However, the public only found out about it a few days ago when the media reported on the delicate find.

In the affair, Biden’s team acknowledged mistakes. After the Justice Department appointed a special counsel in the case on Thursday, Biden’s adviser Richard Sauber said: “We are confident that a thorough review will determine that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and that upon discovery of this error, the President and his attorneys will take immediate action acted.”

In the past few days it has become known that classified information from Biden’s time as Vice President had been discovered in various places weeks ago. These include private offices in the capital, Washington, and the garage in Biden’s private home in Wilmington, Delaware.

As a reaction to the first discovery when clearing out the private offices in Washington, employees of the US President are said to have searched for further documents and finally found what they were looking for in his house, explained Sauber. In addition to a find in a garage, he also announced on Thursday that another document had been discovered in an adjacent room among stored materials. Biden spoke of his “personal library”.

Garland has now revealed further details about the timing: The Department of Justice was informed by the National Archives on the evening of November 4 about the first find of documents in the private office of the former Vice President in the Penn Biden Center in Washington. “This office was not licensed to hold classified information,” Garland pointed out. As a result, the FBI and the Department of Justice began investigations.

As early as December 20, Biden’s team informed the Justice Department that other classified information had been found in the garage of Biden’s home in Wilmington – also from his time as Vice President, Garland said. On Thursday, the ministry found out about the other document found.

Garland said he decided a few days ago to use a special counsel based on the research so far. In the past few days, this had finally been selected.

The 50-year-old Hur worked for the Justice Department in the past – for example on the topics of counter-terrorism and corporate fraud. He was later, among other things, a prosecutor in the US state of Maryland. Hur was nominated for the position by then-President Trump. Most recently, he worked as an attorney for a law firm in Washington.

For Biden, the situation is politically extremely delicate, because his Republican predecessor Trump caused a scandal with a similar case in the summer. When he left the White House, Trump took government documents with him to his private estate Mar-a-Lago in Florida on a grand scale, including a number of top-secret documents. The Federal Police FBI had searched the property in August and confiscated various classified documents. Trump could have committed a criminal offense.

In Trump’s case, Garland also claimed special circumstances and appointed lawyer Jack Smith as special counsel. This deals on the one hand with the investigations in connection with secret government documents. However, he is also responsible for investigations into the attack by Trump supporters on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In certain exceptional cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel to independently conduct the investigation, Garland said of the Trump case. A major reason for the appointment was that Trump had recently announced a renewed candidacy for the presidency. Biden has also repeatedly stated his general intention to run again in the 2024 presidential election. He has not yet made a final decision public.

The Democrat Biden had rated his predecessor’s behavior as “irresponsible”. Trump, in turn, had sharply criticized the actions of the Attorney General appointed by Biden and repeatedly addressed the special counsel Smith verbally. After the revelations about Biden’s handling of secret documents, prominent Republicans also called for the appointment of a special investigator. Republicans had also accused Biden and his administration of using double standards and exaggerating when dealing with Trump.

Even if the cases of Trump and Biden look very similar at first glance, there are important differences. According to Biden’s team, they immediately reported the discoveries to the National Archives and passed on the documents. Unlike Biden, Trump’s case was preceded by a dispute with the National Archives. It tried unsuccessfully for months to get papers from Trump’s tenure. Trump’s team finally handed over documents to the National Archives – but by no means all of them, as the sensational FBI search in August revealed.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.