No charges expected in Biden classified documents investigation

Attorney General Merrick Garland announces conclusion of special counsel probe with report to come soon

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that a special counsel has concluded an investigation into President Joe Biden and his handling of classified documents. AP
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The US Justice Department special counsel investigating President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents has completed his inquiry and a report is expected to be made public soon, Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress in a letter on Wednesday.

Mr Garland did not detail the conclusions of the report from special counsel Robert Hur, the Associated Press reported, but he shared a commitment to disclosing as much of the document as possible once the White House completes a review for potential executive privilege concerns.

That process is expected to be completed by the end of the week, said Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel's office.

The Justice Department is expected not to file charges against Mr Biden but the report will be critical of his actions, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

The year-long investigation centred on the improper retention of classified documents by Mr Biden from his time as a US senator and as vice president.

Sensitive records were found at his Delaware home and at a private office that he used in between his service in former president Barack Obama's administration and becoming president.

The development removes a major legal and political weight hanging over Mr Biden as he runs for re-election.

Meanwhile, former president Donald Trump, who is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is facing felony charges related to his retention of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Prosecutors have charged Mr Trump with obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim classified material improperly removed from the White House after his term ended in early 2021.

The decision not to charge Mr Biden is not surprising because it involved seemingly innocent mishandling of classified papers that were uncovered and immediately handed over for investigation, according to Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor.

“Trump’s case is completely different because of his wilful refusal to return the documents,” Ms McQuade said. “And the cover-up.”

Mr Trump and other Republicans are likely to challenge the legitimacy of the investigation by noting that it was launched by the Justice Department under Mr Biden's administration.

However, Mr Garland sought to insulate the department from claims of bias and conflicts of interest by last year appointing Mr Hur, a former US attorney for Maryland during the Trump administration, to handle the Biden investigation.

Updated: February 08, 2024, 1:29 AM