Who is Robert Hur, the special counsel tapped to oversee the Biden documents investigation?
Washington — Former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur will serve as special counsel overseeing an inquiry related to the discovery of documents with classification markings at President Biden's Wilmington home and former private office, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday.
Hur is the second special counsel appointed to oversee an investigation into sensitive documents, joining Jack Smith, who was tapped in November to take over the probe into former President Donald Trump's handling of sensitive government documents.
"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," Hur said in a statement after Garland's announcement.
The appointment of Hur came hours after the White House confirmed the discovery of a second set of documents in a garage at Mr. Biden's Delaware residence. Garland said the government first learned about the initial group of documents that were found in an office Mr. Biden used upon leaving the vice presidency in early November, and the FBI began an assessment of potential mishandling of classified information several days later. Garland revealed the documents in Mr. Biden's garage were subsequently discovered on Dec. 20.
The attorney general initially tasked John Lausch, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to probe the handling of the documents. He said Lausch advised him last week that the appointment of a special counsel was warranted, leading him to name Hur to the role.
"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," Garland said. "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 department."
Hur served as the top federal prosecutor for Maryland from 2018 to 2021, having been appointed to the role by Trump and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. In a release, the Justice Department noted that he was responsible for "setting strategic priorities for and supervising one of the largest and busiest U.S. Attorney's Offices in the nation."
Maryland's outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan called Hur "a prosecutor of the highest caliber and integrity."
"I have faith in his ability to get the facts and hold power to account," Hogan said in a statement. "In this country, no one is above the law."
Before becoming U.S. attorney, Hur was an associate deputy attorney general from 2017 to 2018, and an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland from 2007 to 2014, according to the Justice Department. Before that, he was also a top aide to now-FBI Director Christopher Wray when Wray was head of the Justice Department's criminal division and clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Hur has an extensive legal background in handling classified information, since the U.S. attorney in Maryland has jurisdiction over cases stemming from a number of secretive federal agencies, including the National Security Agency.
He is now a partner in the Washington, D.C., law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, focusing on white collar crime and national security, according to the law firm.
In 2021, Hur, who is an Asian American, was tapped by Hogan to lead a working group to combat anti-Asian hate crimes.
Hur earned his law degree from Stanford University, where he was the editor of the Stanford Law Review, and earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University.
Paul Murphy, a partner at the law firm King & Spalding who has worked with Hur in private practice and at the Justice Department, called him a "lawyer's lawyer."
"He's very smart," Murphy said in an interview Thursday. "He's incredibly hardworking and diligent. He's got excellent judgment. You know, Rob really enjoys a stellar reputation within the department and also the defense bar. I think that Rob is objective, even-handed, and will bring what I call a 'balls and strikes' approach to his job."
Murphy said Hur has a "wealth of experience," both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.
"He's been on both sides of the table, prosecuting cases and defending cases, and so I think that gives him a valuable perspective going into this work that he will be doing," Murphy said.
Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.
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