Attorney General Merrick Garland is appointing a special counsel to investigate the discovery of classified documents at President Joe Biden's former office space and home.
Robert Hur, who served as US Attorney for the district of Maryland until 2021, will fill the role as special counsel to review the classified material dating back to the Obama administration.
"I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity," Garland said at a news conference Thursday. "But under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter."
The appointment comes hours after a second set of classified documents from the Obama administration was found at President Joe Biden's home, the White House said on Thursday.
Biden's lawyers discovered a "small number of additional" classified records in a storage space in the garage of Biden's house in Wilmington, Delaware, said Richard Sauber, the special counsel to the president. One other single-page document was found in an adjacent room.
"As was done in the case of the Penn-Biden Center, the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents," Sauber said.
Speaking at a news conference, Biden acknowledged the discovery of the documents in his garage, saying they were next to his Corvette.
"By the way, my Corvette's in a locked garage, so it's not like they're sitting out on the street," he said. "People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully with the Justice Department's review."
The White House disclosure on Thursday comes days after the White House revealed that a batch of classified documents were discovered in Biden's former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a Washington think tank, in November 2022.
Biden's personal attorneys found those records when they were clearing out the office on Nov. 2, CBS News reported. The White House counsel's office handed the files to the National Archives the next day.
Those documents "were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives," Sauber said.
The Justice Department initially launched a review into the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center before Garland appointed Hur as special counsel.
The president previously said that he was surprised that there were classified documents at that office.
"After I was briefed about the discovery, I was surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken to that office," he said at a news conference in Mexico on Tuesday. "But I don’t know what’s in the documents."
The latest discovery of another batch of classified documents may open Biden up to more questions about his team's handling of these materials. Biden himself has criticized his predecessor, Donald Trump, as irresponsible for storing classified government records at Mar-a-Lago.
There are vast differences between the two cases, however. Missing materials from the Trump presidency were first noted by the National Archives, and Trump resisted repeated requests from officials to hand them over. In January 2022, the agency sent officials to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve 15 boxes of documents and found that there were several high-level classified records.
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August, discovering many more classified documents. The unsealed search warrant revealed that Trump was being investigated for potential violations of the Espionage Act, mishandling government documents, and obstruction of justice.
Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the criminal investigation into the classified documents Trump stored at Mar-a-Lago in November 2022.
The former president has repeatedly expressed frustration over Smith's investigation. He again complained about Smith on Thursday, before Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel for Biden's case.
"Merrick Garland has to immediately end Special Counsel investigation into anything related to me because I did everything right, and appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Joe Biden who hates Biden as much as Jack Smith hates me," Trump posted on his social media website Truth Social.