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Former Defense Department Chief of Staff Kash Patel said he does not trust the special counsel to fairly investigate President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified information.
“We’ve already seen how they’re handling it—they’re not,” Patel told The Epoch Times’ Jan Jekielek on an episode of his “Kash’s Corner” podcast, which premiered on Jan. 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“The FBI, DOJ aren’t investigating this matter,” he added. “No, subpoenas have gone out, nothing. And so, I don’t have any faith in this new special counsel.”
On Jan. 12, Attorney General Merrick Garland capped off a turbulent week for the Biden administration by appointing attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to probe Biden’s storage of classified documents in unsecured locations.
Hur, a Trump appointee, served as U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland from April 2018 to February 2021, when he left the Department of Justice (DOJ) for private practice.
Between 2003 and 2018, Hur served on and off at the DOJ in various roles, reporting to familiar figures like now-FBI Director Christopher Wray and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
And that fact, according to Patel, is one of the reasons Hur cannot be trusted to remain impartial.
“In the Trump administration, when Jeff Sessions was recused from all the Russiagate stuff, Rod Rosenstein was the attorney general for all those matters,” Patel noted, adding that Rosenstein had “hand-picked” Hur to serve under him as the principal associate deputy attorney general.
“How they handled the Russiagate investigation is my problem,” Patel said.
A ‘Political Charade’
In 2017, with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions unable to get involved, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation. It was also Rosenstein who signed off on applications to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign associate, based on false information.
Patel, who at that time was serving as senior counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, said that Rosenstein and Hur subpoenaed his records while he was working to expose “the corruption of Russiagate,” and that they had “blockaded” the committee’s attempts to obtain information on the probe.
“[Hur] doesn’t get a hall pass from me,” he said. “I think he’s just another one of these corrupt government gangsters who … was politically chosen by Merrick Garland because they’ll be able to say the following headline: ‘A Former Trump Appointee Is the Special Counsel Investigating Joe Biden.’”
Describing Hur’s appointment as a “political charade,” Patel added: “Just like in the Russiagate days, I think [the DOJ is] already setting the landscape for the cover-up that they need to have happen so their own problematic handling of prior investigations is not exposed. So, that’s why I have no faith in this new special counsel, and I just don’t see it becoming an actual investigation.”
In appointing Hur, the attorney general described the former U.S. attorney as having a “long and distinguished career as a prosecutor.”
“I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this Department,” Garland added.
Although Hur was not present for Garland’s announcement, he pledged to conduct his duties as special counsel with “fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment” in a statement released by the DOJ.
“I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly,” Hur added, “without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Hur for comment.
A Questionable Timeline
According to the White House, the first cache of classified documents in Biden’s possession was discovered on Nov. 2 at the Penn Biden Center in Washington and reported immediately to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The documents were then transferred to NARA the next day.
According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the National Archives Office of the Inspector General notified the Justice Department of the documents’ discovery on Nov. 4 and the FBI opened an investigation into the matter on Nov. 9.
Patel, however, said he doubts the administration’s timeline of events, finding it unlikely that NARA was unaware that the documents were missing.
“Are we really to believe that our top librarians in the United States of America didn’t know for six years that these documents were missing?” he said, adding that the matter should be investigated by the House’s newly-formed Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Last week, House Republicans launched their own investigations into Biden’s possession of classified materials, requesting access to all the classified documents that had been discovered by the president’s attorneys “at any location,” in addition to the names of all involved in the search, the locations searched, and communications on the matter between the White House and NARA and the DOJ.
Since the first stash of documents was located, additional documents have been found at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence, in searches conducted by his personal attorneys. And even as the White House has made disclosures about the fruits of those searches, many questions remain unanswered.
Noting that it is still unclear as to how the classified materials ended up in Biden’s possession and were moved to those different locations, Patel said it was important to find out whether there were more documents to be found in other locations and who had access to the materials.
As no visitor logs exist for Biden’s Wilmington home, Patel said Congress should question all the Secret Service agents who have protected Biden over the last six years to learn more about who might have had access to the documents.
“Did the Secret Service have knowledge back then that there were sensitive documents running around in the wild?” he added. “That’s another question that no one’s asking.”
The Secret Service, according to spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, screens all of the president’s visitors but does not keep records of who is vetted.
Other questions have arisen regarding the DOJ’s handling of the investigation thus far, like the department’s decision to allow Biden’s personal attorneys to carry out the document searches without any supervision from law enforcement.
“That’s like having someone commit the murder … and then you let the murderer go and collect the evidence and bring it back to the cops,” Patel noted. “That’s absurd.”
Patel also contrasted the situation against that of the DOJ’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, alleging that the department’s political bias against Trump was now on full display.
“How is it that Merrick Garland can go to a podium and now say, ‘Well, it was justified that we went in with a full SWAT force into Mar-a-Lago, and it’s justified that we are letting President Biden’s attorneys conduct their own search of classified documents, who may or may not have the appropriate security clearances’?”
Implications for 2024
Prior to the White House’s public disclosure last week of the classified materials’ discovery, it was anticipated that Biden would announce his intention to seek reelection within the next couple of weeks.
However, as news of the investigation broke and prominent Democrats began calling for a special counsel, some began to wonder whether there wasn’t more to the timing of the announcement.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this story broke the week or two before the world was to learn whether or not Joe Biden was going to run for reelection,” Patel noted.
Suggesting that the scandal was leaked to “sideline” Biden, he posited, “What I believe is happening is there are people in the Democratic Party and the establishment media who don’t want Joe Biden to run for reelection.”
Others have espoused the same theory, like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who told Fox News on Wednesday, “There’s an element to this that feels like the Democrats are taking out Joe Biden.
“I don’t know that that’s the case, but I don’t know that it’s not,” Gaetz added. “But just as Joe Biden is hardening the cement around his decision to run for president again, they start looking for what classified documents might have been tucked away eight years ago.”
But whether a political smear tactic or not, Patel said he thought it unlikely that the DOJ would charge Biden in the case. Instead, he held that the department would do the bidding of the Democratic Party and, using the legal woes of Biden’s son Hunter as leverage, convince him not to run again.
“They’ll say, ‘Hey, look, we’ll probably walk your son Hunter into a really nice deep plea agreement where he’s not charged with anything serious and you as a sitting president can commute or pardon him,” he suggested. “And then you guys can leave and go live your lives, and we, the Democrats, will put up a candidate we think can defeat Donald Trump.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the White House, Justice Department, and Democratic National Committee for comment.