Remember the special counsel probe looking into the president’s handling of classified documents? No, I mean, the other one? Like, as in Joe Biden.
Back in January, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as special counsel, to investigate President Biden’s handling of classified documents. The appointment came two months after another special counsel, Jack Smith, was appointed to investigate former President Donald Trump’s own handling of classified materials.
White House Complying with Investigation
The White House had announced, back in January, that it would cooperate fully with Hur’s probe. With the appointment, the streak continued that every president since Richard Nixon, with the exception of Barack Obama, had been investigated by either a special counsel or independent counsel.
“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment,” Hur said at the time of his appointment. “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”
Hur, while appointed U.S. Attorney by Trump, has worked for politicians of both parties. He has spent much of his career going back and forth between government service and major law firms.
The Smith investigation, of course, has led to indictments, in what is widely seen as the strongest of the four current criminal cases against former President Trump. And now, President Biden has sat for an interview with Hur, the special counsel.
According to NPR, the interview took place this past weekend.
“The voluntary interview was conducted at the White House over two days, Sunday and Monday, and concluded Monday,” White House spokesman Ian Sams told the press. “We would refer other questions to the Justice Department at this time.”
As noted by MSNBC, former President Trump did not at any point sit for an interview with Jack Smith.
Following the controversy over Trump’s documents, Biden’s lawyers searched the president’s residences and offices back in January and found some documents with classified markings. Hur, since his appointment nine months ago, has kept a generally low profile, nor have the Republican opponents of the president concentrated much on the Biden documents probe, choosing instead to emphasize the various financial and personal scandals involving the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
The Biden documents case is different from that of Trump in several key ways. Not nearly as many documents have been found, Biden has cooperated with authorities throughout, and the president is not accused of showing classified documents to those without security clearance. While Trump defied subpoenas, Biden’s handover of the documents did not require subpoenas at all.
“What’s different in Trump’s case from Biden’s is that prosecutors allege that Trump was personally involved in packing the documents as he left the White House in 2021, bragged about having the secret material, and pushed his attorneys to mislead the FBI about what information he had stored at his home,” the NPR story said.
There was a similar investigation into former vice president and current presidential candidate Mike Pence, after classified documents from his time as vice president were found in his Indiana home. In June, the Justice Department announced that Pence would not be charged with a crime, and that case has barely been mentioned in coverage of Pence’s presidential bid.
What does Biden’s meeting with Hur mean to the investigation? It’s likely he would not have agreed to a voluntary interview, at this stage, if he or his attorneys believed he was in any serious legal jeopardy.
“Seems like interviewing Biden would be a last step in investigation. I imagine some analysis must now occur, as well as writing a final report, and an opportunity for AG to overturn any plan is outside DOJ norms. I would expect an announcement on the results in 30 to 60 days,” legal analyst Barb McQuade said on X.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.