While Trump faces host of charges, none filed in Biden special counsel probe on classified memos

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur special counsel to investigate Biden's handling of classified documents

Published: August 6, 2023 6:56am

While former President Donald Trump faces an array of federal charges in two separate cases as a result of Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation, no one has yet been charged in a separate special counsel probe of President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents while he was vice president.

In January 2023, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur special counsel to investigate the Biden case.

In November 2022, Obama-era documents with classified markings were discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania’s Washington D.C. office.

The documents were found by Biden's attorneys, and a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee told CNN that "we now know the classified documents were not kept in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center as the Biden team has asserted."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also discovered classified documents in a garage at Biden's home in Wilmington, Del., in January 2023, prompting Garland to appoint the special counsel. In a January 10 press conference, Biden said he was "surprised" that the documents were found and that "he did not know what was in the documents."

In August 2022, the FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago home for classified documents. Trump was charged in June 2023 with 37 counts for mishandling classified information as part of special counsel Smith's investigation. Trump was later hit with additional charges in that case, and indicted in August 2023 on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, which also stems from Smith's investigation.

Trump was arraigned at the federal courthouse in Washington D.C. on Thursday on the Jan. 6 related changes. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

After the FBI raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, the agents gathered documents together for a series of photographs that were widely distributed to the media. By contrast, research by Just the News shows that after classified documents were discovered both at the Biden Penn Center and Biden's garage, no such publicity photos were made or distributed.

Smith spoke publicly after charges in both cases were announced.

No one has been charged in Hur's investigation of Biden and Hur has not publicly addressed any aspect of the investigation. His only statement came after he was assigned to the case.

“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment. I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service," he said.

Meanwhile, congressional investigators are continuing their probe of Biden's potential role in Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings. In a June 26 press conference Biden categorically denied having any role in his son's business dealings, and more recently White House spokesperson Ian Sams called the matter an  "evidence-free wild goose chase." 

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a July 31 statement following Devon Archer’s four-hour interview with the committee that “Devon Archer’s testimony today confirms Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved. Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family. When Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States, he joined Hunter Biden’s dinners with his foreign business associates in person or by speakerphone over 20 times."

Garland has not appointed a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe. IRS whistleblowers told a congressional committee that U.S. Attorney David Weiss asked for special counsel status to bring forth charges against Hunter outside of the state of Delaware but he was denied. However, after those allegations surfaced, Weiss publicly stated that he hasn't asked for special counsel status. 

IRS whistleblowers also said they had plans to search Hunter Biden's storage unit in Northern Virginia but his attorneys were tipped off.

“No sooner had we gotten off the call [than] we heard AUSA Lesley Wolf had simply reached out to Hunter Biden’s defense counsel and told him about the storage unit, once again ruining our chance to get to evidence before being destroyed, manipulated, or concealed," IRS Supervisory Agent Gary Shapley said.

According to the whistleblowers' testimony, the FBI tipped off Biden's presidential transition team of the IRS investigators' plan to conduct an interview with Hunter Biden. He was reportedly never interviewed as part of the investigation. 

Top Republicans in the House and Senate have questioned whether Hunter Biden had access to the classified documents at his father's home. The New York Post reported that Hunter wrote in his memoir that he was quarantined at the home. 

“I also believe it is critical for the FBI to search Hunter Biden’s homes, home and office residences to make sure there are no classified documents there, given all the evidence that’s piling up. We need to ascertain who’s had access to what and when,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx).  

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Garland on Jan. 13 demanding all relevant documents and communications between the department, the FBI, the White House and Biden's attorneys regarding classified documents in Biden's possession. 

According to the Washington Examiner, The Department of Justice rejected the committee's demands on the basis that it "requests non-public information that is central to the ongoing Special Counsel investigation." The DOJ went on to say that “Disclosing non-public information about ongoing investigations could violate statutory requirements or court orders, reveal road maps of our investigations, and interfere with the Department’s ability to gather facts, interview witnesses, and bring criminal prosecutions where warranted.”

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

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