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Special counsel investigating Biden has sent final report to White House

Robert K. Hur, special counsel investigating President Joe Biden, in a file image during his tenure as U.S. attorney for the district of Maryland.  (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)
By Glenn Thrush New York Times

WASHINGTON – The final report of Robert Hur, the special counsel investigating President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents retained from his vice presidency, has been sent to the White House and to Attorney General Merrick Garland, two of the final steps before its public release, officials said Wednesday.

Garland received the report Monday, he told congressional leaders in a letter Wednesday. He said that Hur had previously sent a copy to the White House Counsel’s Office for possible revisions based on claims of executive privilege, and that the White House was still reviewing the report.

Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House Counsel’s Office, said the review would be completed by the end of the week. He did not comment on its findings.

Garland’s letter contained no indication that the department would pursue an indictment, and people around Biden have said they do not expect one.

The report is expected to criticize Biden and his aides for sloppy record-keeping and storage, according to people in Biden’s orbit, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. But those people have long doubted that any charges will be filed, based on the lines of inquiry that prosecutors have pursued in their interviews with witnesses and on the president’s cooperation with investigators.

Garland appointed Hur, a veteran prosecutor who worked in the Trump administration, about a year ago to examine “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” after Biden left the Obama administration.

Former President Donald Trump, who was charged last summer with obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim classified materials at his resort in Florida, is likely to seize on the report to downplay his own legal woes – and to claim the Justice Department has targeted him politically while letting Biden escape punishment.

But Hur’s investigation does not appear to be comparable in scope or seriousness to the one into Trump’s retention of sensitive government documents.

Biden’s lawyers immediately notified the National Archives and Records Administration upon discovering a cache of classified documents in late 2022 when they were closing an office in Washington he occupied after leaving the vice presidency in 2017. They have since cooperated with the Justice Department, and gave the FBI access to his house in Wilmington, Delaware, where investigators discovered more material.

Trump, by contrast, repeatedly resisted requests from the National Archives, which is responsible for storing sensitive White House documents, and initially turned over only a portion of what he had taken when he left office in January 2021. He failed to fully respond to a subpoena to return the rest, and ultimately FBI agents with a warrant searched his home and office.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.