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A special counsel has been appointed to investigate Biden’s classified records, which included top secret documents.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that he had appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to review classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and a Washington office he used.

Hur, who is now a lawyer in Washington, D.C., was the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia during the Trump administration. He is also the former principal counsellor to former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller investigation.

Hur’s appointment, according to Garland, “authorises him to investigate whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter.”

Garland stated that the relocation was necessary due to the “extraordinary circumstances” involved. “I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibilities fairly and expeditiously,” he said.

“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgement,” Hur said in a statement. I intend to follow the facts as quickly and thoroughly as possible, without fear or favour, and to uphold the trust placed in me to perform this service.”

The move came after the White House publicly admitted on Thursday that classified Obama administration documents had been discovered in one of Biden’s Delaware homes. This came after the discovery of documents in a Washington office on Monday.

Garland stated that the DOJ was informed about the documents in Biden’s home on December 20. According to Garland, Biden’s lawyer informed the Justice Department on Thursday morning that another document had been discovered in the home.

A source familiar with the situation told NBC News that the single additional classified document Garland was told about Thursday morning was discovered the day before at Biden’s home in Wilmington. On Thursday, the president’s personal counsel notified the Justice Department about the document.

Garland had previously asked John R. Lausch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and a Trump holdover, to investigate how classified material ended up in a locked closet in a Washington, D.C., office used by Biden after he left office in 2017, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News earlier this week.

Garland stated that on Jan. 5, Lausch briefed him on his findings and “advised me that further investigation by a special counsel was warranted.” Garland agreed but did not go into further detail.

Multiple aides to Biden during the final days of the Obama administration have already been interviewed by federal law enforcement officials, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Richard Sauber, Biden’s counsel, said in a statement released Thursday that the additional documents were discovered during a search of Biden’s two Delaware homes. He didn’t say how many there were or what their classification was.

There were no documents discovered in Biden’s Rehoboth Beach home.

“We have cooperated closely with the Justice Department throughout its review, and we will continue that cooperation with the Special Counsel,” Sauber said in a second statement following Garland’s announcement. We are confident that a thorough review will reveal that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and that the President and his lawyers acted quickly upon discovering this error.”

The president told reporters in a brief statement Thursday that the documents were discovered in “storage areas and file cabinets in my home, in my personal library.”

Asked why he’d had classified documents next to his Corvette in his garage, Biden said: “My Corvette’s in a locked garage. It’s not like they’re sitting on the sidewalk.”

“People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously,” he continued.

A source familiar with the ongoing investigation later told NBC News that Biden’s lawyers searched his personal library at his Wilmington residence and found no classified documents. The library is not the room near the garage where a classified document was discovered among the stored materials.

The Department of Justice was “immediately notified,” according to Sauber, and Biden’s lawyers arranged for the DOJ to take possession of the documents.

The White House announced Wednesday night that the search was completed.

It’s unclear why Biden’s homes were only recently searched. Following a CBS News report, Sauber acknowledged earlier this week that some classified documents were discovered on Nov. 2 in a Washington office used by Biden.

Sauber’s statement came a day after NBC News reported that the president’s aides had discovered at least one additional batch of classified documents in a location other than the Washington office he used after the Obama administration ended.

According to Sauber, the president’s lawyers have now finished searching for “locations where files from his Vice-Presidential office may have been shipped during the 2017 transition.”

Sauber’s statement provided a slightly different account of what happened after classified material was discovered in a locked closet in Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.

“On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives,” Sauber said in a statement Monday. The materials were delivered to the Archives the following morning.” “As was done in the case of the Penn-Biden Center,” Sauber said in a statement Thursday, “the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents.”

Garland stated on Thursday that the National Archives informed the Justice Department about the documents on November 4. He stated that on November 9, the FBI began an investigation “to determine whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law.”

Garland said he assigned Lausch “to conduct an initial investigation to inform my decision whether or not to appoint a special counsel” five days later.

According to a senior US official and another person familiar with the matter, one of the classified documents discovered at Biden’s DC office was marked with the highest classification in the US government, Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, or TS/SCI. CNN was the first to report on the markings.

According to the sources, other documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center did not have as highly classified markings.

According to a US official familiar with the situation, some US government officials outside of the Justice Department and the White House have been briefed on the contents of the classified documents discovered by Biden’s lawyers in November.

The White House did not respond Thursday night.

When asked earlier Thursday how Biden could say he takes the handling of classified materials seriously when some records were kept in his garage, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “He didn’t know the records were there.”

When asked why it took more than two months to inform the public about the documents, Jean-Pierre said it was due to “an ongoing process” and that the White House was “doing everything by the book.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the findings “another faux pas by the Biden administration” and told reporters that “Congress needs to investigate this.”

After Garland’s announcement, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said in a statement that his committee will investigate “President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and the Swamp’s efforts to hide this information from the American people.”

“Many questions have been raised about why the Biden Administration kept this matter hidden from the public, who had access to the office and residence, and what information is contained in these classified documents,” Comer said.

The latest revelations were mocked by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “We’re discussing classified documents. “It’s obviously serious, but when you find out they’re in the garage, you almost start laughing,” Jordan said.

He said he has “a tonne of questions” about the timing of the searches and why a lawyer was involved in the D.C. relocation in the first place. Jordan also accused the DOJ of applying a “double standard” in handling Biden’s case versus its investigation into documents with classification markings that former President Donald Trump kept.

To date, there are some significant differences between the two cases, including Trump’s refusal to turn over documents despite being served with a subpoena for their return, and his lawyers’ erroneous certification that they’d all been returned.

While there are “enormous differences” between the Biden and Trump cases, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who previously chaired the House Intelligence Committee, said “whenever classified documents are in a place that they shouldn’t be, it’s a concern for those of us on the Intelligence Committee.” He requested that the House panel be briefed on the incidents.

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