The special counsel investigating the classified documents kept by President Joe Biden could face pressure to act after last week’s indictment of former President Donald Trump, according to a government watchdog group.
Robert Hur, a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Maryland, was appointed special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland in January amid revelations that Biden had stored classified information from his time as vice president and in the Senate at his private homes and offices.
“There will be pressure on the special counsel Hur to resolve what is going on with Biden’s documents, even if it’s to say Biden cooperated with the investigation, which would be tongue-in-cheek considering how information about the [president’s] possession of documents came out in dribs and drabs,” Paul Kamenar, counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative government watchdog group, told The Daily Signal.
Some of the classified documents in Biden’s possession reportedly pertain to Iran, Ukraine, and Britain.
Separately, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee recently released information alleging that a $5 million bribe was paid to Biden while he was vice president by an executive at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Trump and his supporters drew immediate comparisons to the two Biden-related cases, alleging a legal double standard, after another special counsel, Jack Smith, on Friday unsealed an indictment of Trump related to his possession of classified documents from his presidency.
“I don’t know what is taking the special counsel [Hur] so long to wrap up,” Kamenar told The Daily Signal. “With Joe Biden, this should be simple, unless there is something else that the public isn’t being told about that Robert Hur is looking into. But even if he concludes Biden did violate the law, you can’t indict a sitting president.”
Last week, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked Garland in two separate letters for memos detailing the scope of Hur’s investigation of Biden and Smith’s investigation of Trump.
As previously reported by The Daily Signal, Biden’s attorneys found classified documents in an office reserved for him at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a think tank in the nation’s capital associated with the University of Pennsylvania.
Biden’s attorneys notified the Justice Department about the discovered classified documents shortly before the 2022 midterm elections, but the public did not learn about the matter until afterward.
Biden’s attorneys disclosed the location of the classified documents shortly before Garland appointed Smith as special counsel investigating Trump regarding classified documents he took to his Florida estate, which led to last week’s indictment of the former president.
More documents were found at Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware, including in the garage. Classified documents dating from Biden’s time in the Senate also have been discovered in his possession. Still more documents were found at a Boston law office, Hemenway & Barnes, which has represented Biden.
The Delaware Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a related Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller.
“The sketchy secrecy on the Biden Senate records and his deal with the University of Delaware need to end,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a public statement. “And President Biden could end the dispute by simply releasing the details about his Senate records. What is Biden hiding?”
All of the documents at issue predate Biden’s presidency. One key difference between the Trump and Biden investigations is that as vice president, Biden would not have had the same authority to declassify documents as Trump did as president, Kamenar said.
Kamenar also told The Daily Signal that it’s not clear that the classified documents held at the Penn Biden Center were secure, which could have made them vulnerable to foreign exchange students.
“It’s still not clear why the heck Biden waited so long after becoming president to clean out his office at the Penn Biden Center,” he said.
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