GOP calls for Biden special counsel grow amid classified document discoveries

Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith to handle the DOJ's Trump investigations, in part to insulate the agency from allegations of partisanship.

Updated: January 11, 2023 - 7:33pm

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Republicans are increasingly demanding that Attorney General Merrick Garland appoint a special counsel to handle the Department of Justice's investigations involving the Biden family, pointing to his appointment of special counsel Jack Smith to handle matters involving former President Donald Trump.

Reports emerged this week that a lawyer cleaning out Biden's office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington discovered a batch of classified materials containing intelligence involving Iran, Ukraine and the UK. News broke on Wednesday that the president's aides had discovered a second batch of classified materials in an as-yet-undisclosed location. The National Archives has asked the DOJ to investigate the matter.

Former President Donald Trump found himself the target of a similar investigation last year. Following a request from the National Archives, the FBI raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8, 2022, seeking classified materials he may have taken from the White House. Trump previously complied with a subpoena and voluntarily handed over materials to the bureau.

Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith to handle the DOJ's Trump investigations, in part to insulate the agency from allegations of partisanship for investigating an active candidate for president. Trump and many of his Republicans have nonetheless derided the entire affair as an act of political persecution.

Republicans have long pushed for a special counsel to investigate first son Hunter Biden over his myriad scandals. The revelations of the president's scattered classified materials, however, has intensified such demands, with many demanding that the DOJ handle the president in the same way it did Trump.

Texas GOP Rep. Troy Nehls on Wednesday tweeted that "Attorney General Merrick Garland must appoint a special counsel" following revelations of the second batch's discovery.

In an interview with Fox News' Martha MacCallum, South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed Garland, asserting that he needed to address the Biden matter as he did Trump.

"If there is not a special counsel appointed to find out how this happened with President Biden regarding classified information... it will hurt the country," he said.

"Garland, if you're listening, if you thought it was necessary to appoint a special counsel regarding President Trump, then you need to do the exact same thing regarding President Biden when it comes to handling classified information," Graham continued.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, meanwhile, wrote directly to Garland on Wednesday saying "[i]n President Trump's case, that retention [of documents] triggered an unprecedented raid on the home of a former president, rationalized with a thicket of partisan doublespeak. President Biden has not experienced anything remotely similar."

"Every conservative out there is completely disgusted with the standard that exists in America when it comes to conservatives and everybody else," he further asserted, per The Hill.

Garland has thus far not named a special counsel to address matters involving any member of the Biden family.