Biden expected to avoid charges over handling of classified documents

Last year several classified documents were found at President Joe Biden’s home and former office

Ariana Baio
Friday 17 November 2023 15:49 GMT
Karine Jean-Pierre and Peter Doocy stand-off over Biden's classified documents

President Joe Biden is unlikely to face criminal charges related to the discovery of classified documents at his home and office, sources close to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation told news outlets.

Sources close to the probe told CNN that Mr Hur and his team will be releasing a detailed report about the nearly year-long investigation that is thought to be “critical” of Mr Biden and his staff – but will not deliver formal charges against anyone involved.

Last November, lawyers for Mr Biden discovered a small number of classified documents at an office the president formerly used and reported it to the National Archives.

A preliminary investigation was then launched, which led to the discovery of even more classified documents at Mr Biden’s home and garage in Wilmington, Delaware.

In January, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Mr Hur to investigate the matter.

Recently, Mr Hur conducted interviews with Mr Biden and his son, Hunter Biden – signaling the inquiry may be coming to an end.

Members of Mr Hur’s team have reportedly told Department of Justice (DoJ) officials they hope to have the report finalised by the end of the year but that this timeline could change.

The classified documents probe into Mr Biden arrives at a time when former president Donald Trump is gearing up to go to trial to face criminal charges over his own handling of classified documents since leaving offcie.

Earlier this year, Mr Trump was indicted on 40 charges related to the retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors allege that the former president held onto documents containing national security information after he left the White House and then allegedly attempted to conceal the fact from federal investigators.

The indictment also alleges Mr Trump had two aides mislead federal investigators in an attempt to keep the classified documents.

.S. Attorney Robert Hur arrives at U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Nov. 21, 2019.
.S. Attorney Robert Hur arrives at U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Nov. 21, 2019. (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), presidents and vice presidents are required to turn over records of any kind, including notes, that were created while in office to the National Archives at the end of their term.

The news that Mr Biden is unlikely to face criminal charges has raised some complaints, mainly from Republicans, who believe he is receiving special treatment compared to Mr Trump.

But there are distinct differences between the two presidents’ cases – mainly how each one handled the protocol once classified documents were discovered.

In Mr Biden’s case, once his lawyers had discovered pages of classified documents from his time in the White House under the Obama administration, they alerted authorities immediately.

Though Mr Biden is not expected to be formally charged, the final report is expected to be highly critical of him and his staff.

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