On Appointment of Special Counsel
for Investigation into Potential Mishandling of Classified Documents by the U.S.
January 2023, Washington, D.C.
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
I am here today to announce the appointment of
Robert Hur as a
pursuant to Department of Justice regulations governing such matters. In keeping
with those regulations, I have today notified the designated members of each
House of Congress of the appointment.
I am joined today by
John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of
Illinois, who conducted the initial investigation into the matter that I will
On the evening of November 4th, 2022, the
National Archives Office of Inspector
General contacted a prosecutor at the Department of Justice. It informed him
that the White House [Counsel] had notified the Archives that documents bearing
classification markings were identified at the office of the
Penn Biden Center
for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, located in Washington, D.C. That office was
not authorized for storage of classified documents. The prosecutor was also
advised that those documents had been secured in an Archives facility.
On November 9th, the FBI commenced an assessment, consistent with standard
protocols, to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in
violation of federal law.
On November 14th, pursuant to
Section 600.2(b) of the Special Counsel regulations,
I assigned U.S. Attorney Lausch to conduct an initial investigation to inform my
decision whether to appoint a Special Counsel.
Mr. Lausch has served as the U.S. Attorney in Chicago since 2017. Before that,
he spent more than a decade as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in that same office. I
selected him to conduct the initial investigation because I was confident his
experience would ensure that it would be done professionally and expeditiously.
On December 20th, President Biden's personal counsel informed Mr. Lausch that
additional documents bearing classification markings were identified in the
garage of the President's private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. President
Biden's counsel informed Mr. Lausch that those documents were among other
records from the period of the President's service as Vice President. The FBI
went to the location and secured those documents.
On January 5th, 2023, Mr. Lausch briefed me on the results of his initial
investigation and advised me that further investigation by a Special Counsel was
warranted. Based on Mr. Lausch's initial investigation, I concluded that, under
the Special Counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a
Special Counsel. In the days since, while Mr. Lausch continued the
investigation, the Department identified Mr. Hur for appointment as Special
This morning, President Biden's personal counsel called Mr. Lausch and stated
that an additional document bearing classification markings was identified at
the President's personal residence in Wilmington, Delaware.
When I first contacted Mr. Lausch about this matter, he said he could lead the
initial investigation but would be unable to accept any longer term assignment
because he would be leaving the Department in early 2023 for the private sector.
U.S. Attorney Lausch and his team of prosecutors and agents have conducted this
initial investigation with professionalism and speed. I am grateful to them.
Earlier today, I -- I signed an order appointing Robert Hur as Special Counsel for
the matter I've just described. The document [order] authorizes him to
investigate whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with
this matter. The Special Counsel will not be subject to the day-to-day
supervision of any official of the Department, but he must comply with the
regulations, procedures, and policies of the Department.
Mr. Hur has a long and distinguished career as a prosecutor. In 2003, he joined
the Department's Criminal Division, where he worked on counterterrorism,
corporate fraud, and appellate matters. From 2007 until 2014, Mr. Hur served as
an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, where he prosecuted
matters ranging from violent crime to financial fraud. In 2017, Mr. Hur
the Department as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. In 2018, he
was nominated and confirmed to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the District of
Maryland. As U.S. Attorney, he supervised some of the Department's more
important national security, public corruption, and other high-profile matters.
I will ensure that Mr. Hur receives all the resources he needs to conduct his
As I have said before, I strongly believe that the normal processes of this
Department can handle all investigations with integrity. But, under the
regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a
Special Counsel for this matter.
This appointment underscores for the public the Department's commitment to both
independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters, and to making
decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.
I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed
and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this
Thank you all.
Original Text Source: Justice.gov
Page Updated 1/13/23
Page Updated 1/13/23
U.S. Copyright Status:
Text = Public domain.
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