Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to take over the investigation into President Joe Biden's potential mishandling of classified documents.
The special counsel is Robert Hur.
"I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity. But under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter," Garland said Thursday while making the announcement. "This appointment underscores for the public the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters, and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law."
Implications for Biden: The appointment is a major moment for Biden, who has mostly been able to steer clear of legal problems during his time in the White House. The special counsel investigation, along with the aggressive new Republican-led House of Representatives, means Biden may be on the defensive for the next two years.
The appointment comes hours after the White House counsel’s office said in a statement that Biden’s aides located Obama-era documents with classified markings at two locations inside his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
The documents were located in a storage area in Biden’s garage and an adjacent room, the statement reads. Biden frequently spends weekends at the home, located in a wealthy, wooded enclave on a lake.
Speaking Thursday, Biden said the documents were in a “locked garage” and that he was cooperating fully with the Department of Justice.
CNN previously reported that 10 classified documents, including US intelligence materials and briefing memos about Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, were also discovered when Biden’s personal attorneys were packing files at his former private office in November.
Some of the classified documents were “top secret,” the highest level. They were found in three or four boxes that also contained unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act, CNN has reported.