Special counsel to probe Biden's handling of classified documents

Special counsel to probe Biden's handling of classified documents

WASHINGTON--President Joe Biden's own administration named a special counsel to probe the improper storage of classified documents at his home and a former office on Thursday, an echo of a wider-ranging inquiry directed at his main political rival, Donald Trump.

The inquiry is a distraction for a Democratic president who has criticized his Republican predecessor's handling of classified material, and could cast a shadow over Biden as the two gear up for a possible 2024 election rematch.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Robert Hur, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Maryland under Trump, will act as a quasi-independent prosecutor to determine whether classified records from Biden's time as vice president had been improperly stored at his residence in Delaware and a think tank in Washington. Garland said Hur will examine "whether any person or entity violated the law."
The White House said some material was found in a locked garage at Biden's home and an adjacent room, and pledged to cooperate. "We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced," White House lawyer Richard Sauber said in a statement.
Asked by a reporter on Thursday about the wisdom of storing important material next to his Corvette, the self-declared 'car guy' president said both were in a locked garage. "People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously," he added.
Biden and Trump now each face inquiries from special prosecutors, who are typically appointed to politically sensitive cases to ensure a degree of independence from Justice Department leadership. But their cases are not the same, legal experts say.
Biden's attorneys said they have found fewer than a dozen classified documents and turned over the relevant papers after finding them. Trump resisted doing so until an August FBI search turned up about 100 classified documents, raising questions about whether Trump or his staff obstructed the investigation.
"The facts cannot be more different. The only similarity is there were classified documents that were taken out of the White House to somewhere else," said Kel McClanahan, head of National Security Counselors, a law firm.
The special counsel investigating Trump's handling of documents is also leading inquiries into the Republican's attempts to overturn his November 2020 election defeat to Biden.

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