Update: Attorney General Merrick Garland has just announced that he is appointing a special counsel to investigate whether Biden mishandled classified information during his time in private life.
The DoJ names Robert Hur, a partner at Gibson Dunn, as the special prosecutor.
The appointment of Mr. Hur, who previously served as the U.S. attorney for Maryland during the Trump administration, is tasked with investigating “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” at the office of Mr. Biden’s think tank in Washington and his residence in Wilmington, Del., according to the order signed by Mr. Garland on Wednesday.
Hur's background is notable since he was the US Attorney who requested that the justification of an FBI raid on a reportedly recognized Clinton Foundation whistleblower’s home remain secret.
A senior department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the decision by Mr. Garland “was not taken lightly” but was required under department regulations as “a textbook example” of an investigation that necessitated appointment of a special counsel.
Even Ed Snowden had some comments...
Wow, even *I* handled classified documents more securely. At least I kept them encrypted!— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 12, 2023
(Via @nytimes) pic.twitter.com/2MZc4CpHMO
As a reminder, The White House waited until this month to publicly acknowledge the matter, in response to a CBS News report revealing what had happened.
The discovery came a week before the midterm congressional elections, when the news would have been a high-profile, last-minute development.
* * *
“How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods.”
President Biden's words reflecting on former President Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents will be hard for the spin-meisters to distract from as a second batch of documents have been discovered.
Richard Sauber, Special Counsel to the President, has issued a statement to explain this 'misunderstanding'.
As we stated previously, we are fully cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in possession of the Archives.
Following the discovery of government documents at the Penn Biden Center in November 2022, and coordinating closely with the Department of Justice, the President’s lawyers have searched the President's Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, residences - the other locations where files from his Vice- Presidential office might have been shipped in the course of the 2017 transition. The lawyers completed that review last night.
During the review, the lawyers discovered among personal and political papers a small number of additional Obama-Biden Administration records with classified markings. All but one of these documents were found in storage space in the President’s Wilmington residence garage. One document consisting of one page was discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room. No documents were found in the Rehoboth Beach residence.
Joe Biden may have Tweeted out a picture of the classified documents “securely” stored in his garage beside his corvette. pic.twitter.com/puI4SE0NKk— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 12, 2023
[ZH: so not in a safe as they were found in Trump's Mar-a-Lago?]
Lmao— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) January 12, 2023
“Classified materials, next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?"
BIDEN: "My Corvette's in a locked garage, okay? So it's not like they're sitting out on the street."
Come on, man, the classified docs were locked next to the corvette.— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 12, 2023
The media is right — the BidenDocs scandal is nothing like Mar a Lago. What’s harder to break into? An exclusive private club with private security, cameras, a strict access list, and secret service protection… or an old man’s garage.— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) January 12, 2023
As was done in the case of the Penn-Biden Center, the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents.
The White House will continue to cooperate with the review by the Department of Justice.
But, as Jonathan Turley wrote, the same questions are being asked now about Biden’s own potential “irresponsible” handling of classified material and the true extent of any violations. On Monday, during a state visit to Mexico, Biden declined to answer questions from reporters.
The Biden classified documents matter has been referred to U.S. Attorney John Lausch for investigation. But the discovery will only magnify questions for Garland.
Some of us have criticized Garland for refusing to appoint a special counsel to investigate influence-peddling allegations against Biden’s son, Hunter, despite an overwhelming basis for such an appointment.
In contrast, Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump soon after Trump announced his 2024 presidential candidacy. That again raised questions about Garland’s treatment of Biden, who is actually the president, may also be a presidential candidate in 2024, and may be involved in the underlying allegations against his son.
Now, with this new document discovery, Biden may be accused of the same underlying crime as Trump — yet Garland has elected, once again, not to appoint a special counsel. Instead, he is keeping the Biden matter within Justice Department ranks. While U.S. Attorney Lausch was appointed by Trump and is widely respected, Garland was not willing to keep the Trump case in the hands of a similarly respected Justice Department prosecutor.
For two years, some of us have pushed Garland to adopt a clear, consistent approach with the appointment of a special counsel on the Hunter Biden influence-peddling investigation and other matters. His inexplicable refusal now, regarding this new case, will make a bad situation even worse for the Justice Department.
Accordingly, we note that AG Garland has just announced that he will make a statement at 1315ET.
Bloomberg reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, Garland is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate whether Biden mishandled classified information during his time in private life.
Turley continues, it is fair to note that Trump and his staff are accused of false statements and obstruction. However, that does not change the same alleged crime of unlawful removal and possession.
The President just said that the documents found in his garage are in a "locked garage" like his corvette. The corvette standard is actually not in classified protocols...— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 12, 2023
Biden is taking a page from the Hillary Clinton playbook. Recall the long-sought Whitewater documents. After the case was effectively over, they suddenly appeared. The New York Times called the documents “elusive,” as if they moved by free will.
Clinton was also “surprised” by the discovery of the documents . . . after they could not be used as part of the earlier investigation.
There are some obvious explanations for the documents being present in the office, particularly given Biden’s work on a book that discussed his work in some of the referenced countries like Ukraine. However, even that explanation raises more questions. For example, Biden left office as vice president in 2017 and had an office at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia after finishing his term until 2019. On February 8, 2018, the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement says that it opened its doors in Washington, D.C.
So if these documents were removed when Biden left office, where were they in the prior year and were they moved repeatedly before they ended up in the Washington office? This does not appear a “one-and-done” mistake. Rather documents may have been at various locations over a five year period.
Otherwise, Biden would have had to request and receive classified information at some point in the five years outside of a secure location.
Now that we have a second batch of documents, there is an increasing concern that classified documents were distributed or divided among different offices. This also means that an even greater array of individuals may have had access to such documents at different locations over the five-year period.
Shot/chaser pic.twitter.com/lU6EMxqR8V— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 12, 2023
None of this could be clarified with Biden simply expressing “surprise.”
The FBI has two immediate tasks: secure the highly classified documents and then determine whether they may have been compromised.
Consider that Biden did not categorically deny asking for the documents to be taken at the end of this term as vice president.
He also did not explain when he was briefed after they were found.
Democrats and the media are eager to wave this away and move on. But, as the statements of Garland and Biden show, there are many questions that need answering. The discovery of new classified documents only magnifies those unanswered questions.
That is why we were not “surprised” but we can all be legitimately (and grammatically) astonished by the discoveries in Joe Biden’s closet — and his silence about the contents.