The Department of Justice investigation into the discovery of classified documents inside President Joe Biden’s home garage and former office has now come to an end – with the final report set to be released soon.
In a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed on Wednesday that the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Hur is complete.
The final report has now been submitted and will be made available to Congress after a review by the White House Counsel’s Office.
“On February 5, 2024 ... Special Counsel Hur submitted to me his final report accompanied by appendices and a letter from counsel,” he said.
He also informed the Judiciary Committee leaders that Mr Hur had “engaged” with Mr Biden’s personal attorney and the White House Counsel’s Office and given them the opportunity to comment on his report.
Mr Garland said the report is also subject to what he described as a “review by the White House Counsel’s Office for executive privilege consistent with the President’s constitutional prerogatives,” and noted that the review had not yet been completed.
The attorney general added that he is still committed to making “as much of the Special Counsel’s report public as possible, consistent with legal requirements and Department policy”. He concluded his letter by promising to provide the full report, as well as “appendices, and the letter from counsel” after the White House review is complete.
Mr Hur’s probe is not expected to result in any criminal charges, though White House officials have told The Independent they expect the former Mr Trump appointee to issue pointed criticisms of Mr Biden in his report.
Mr Garland named Mr Hur, a former Trump administration appointee who served as the US attorney for the District of Maryland, to be a special prosecutor in the case last year.
The case began in November 2022 when Mr Biden’s personal attorneys revealed they had discovered Obama-era documents with classification markings at the Penn Biden Centre, a think tank in Washington where Mr Biden kept an office during his time out of government service, from 2017 to 2021.
Following the discovery, Mr Biden’s attorneys also conducted a search of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home and his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, vacation property.
During those searches, they discovered what then-White House special counsel Richard Sauber called “a small number of additional Obama-Biden Administration records with classified markings” in “storage space in the President’s Wilmington residence garage,” along with a single one-page document found “among stored materials in an adjacent room”.
No documents were found in Mr Biden’s Rehoboth Beach property, which Fox Business Network reported cost him and First Lady Jill Biden approximately $2.74m when they purchased it in 2017.
Mr Biden told reporters at the time that he was “cooperating fully and completely” with a Justice Department review of the documents that had been discovered and turned over, and that the searchs of his properties were carried out with his consent.
The report, and the lack of criminal charges stemming from the probe, is likely to incense Republicans aligned with former president Donald Trump, who is facing multiple felony charges stemming from his unauthorised possession of national defence information — classified documents which he took from the White House to his Florida home at the end of his term — and his refusal to return the documents in response to a grand jury subpoena.