Report to be Released Soon
The Justice Department special counsel has concluded the investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents. Attorney General Merrick Garland informed lawmakers in a letter that a report will be released to Congress and the public in the near future. While Garland did not provide specific details on the report’s conclusions, he expressed a commitment to disclose as much information as possible, pending a review by the White House for potential executive privilege concerns. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the week, according to Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel’s office.
Focus on Improper Retention of Classified Documents
The yearlong investigation centered on the improper retention of classified documents by Biden during his time as a U.S. senator and vice president. These sensitive records were discovered at his Delaware home and a private office he utilized between his service in the Obama administration and his presidency.
Impact on Biden’s Reelection Campaign
The resolution of this investigation comes at a critical time for President Biden, as he gears up for reelection in a deeply divided political climate. While the outcome of the probe is anticipated to alleviate any legal concerns regarding Biden’s handling of classified records, criticism could arise surrounding his ability to address the pending indictment against Donald Trump. The former president faces charges of hoarding top-secret files at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing FBI efforts to retrieve them. Republicans, including Trump, are likely to question the legitimacy of the investigation given that it was initiated by the Biden Justice Department.
Measures to Ensure Impartiality
In an effort to safeguard against claims of bias and conflicts of interest, Garland appointed Robert Hur, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland during the Trump administration, to oversee the Biden investigation. Additionally, a separate special counsel, Jack Smith, was appointed to supervise investigations into Trump, further demonstrating the Department of Justice’s commitment to impartiality.
The Biden Probe: A Different Outcome
The investigation into President Biden is expected to have a different outcome compared to the Trump investigation. Due to Justice Department policy, a sitting president cannot be indicted, and there is no evidence to suggest that Biden engaged in any misconduct similar to his predecessor.
However, the White House’s response to the discovery of classified documents in early 2022 was both delayed and incomplete. It was not until January 2023 that the White House disclosed the Justice Department’s investigation into the “small number” of classified documents found by Biden lawyers as they closed an office at the Penn Biden Center.
Following this discovery, the FBI conducted a thorough check of Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home, where they found documents with classified markings from his time as a vice president and senator. They also took possession of some of his handwritten notes. During a separate inspection of his Rehoboth Beach home, Biden’s personal lawyers found one document with classified markings but no others.
As the investigation nears its conclusion, it is worth noting that last fall, Biden voluntarily sat for an interview with Hur’s team at the White House. Typically, these interviews with key subjects occur towards the end of an investigation.
Furthermore, Justice Department regulations mandate that Congress be informed of any investigative steps or proposed actions rejected by department leadership. In this case, there were no such actions as stated by Garland.