Biden declines to assert executive privilege over classified documents report

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President Joe Biden has declined to assert executive privilege over special counsel Robert Hur's report into classified documents found at his home and office.

“We notified the Justice Department at approximately 9:00 this morning that our privilege review has concluded," White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement Thursday morning. "In keeping with his commitment to cooperation and transparency throughout this investigation, the President declined to assert privilege over any portion of the report.”

The report, released later Thursday, declined to charge Biden despite evidence that he "wilfully retained and disclosed classified materials." The scathing report said the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland told congressional leaders Wednesday that Hur had concluded his probe into Biden’s handling of classified documents. NBC News had reported that Hur was not expected to recommend charges.

Garland said Hur communicated with the White House about any possible redactions because of executive privilege issues.

On Monday, Hur turned in his final report to Garland and spoke with both the White House counsel’s office and Biden's personal lawyer for any comments on the report, Garland said.

Hur has interviewed both Biden and his son Hunter Biden in the investigation, NBC News has reported.

A personal lawyer of Biden found classified documents at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C., in November 2022, and more documents were later found at Biden’s home in Delaware. The Penn Biden Center served as Biden’s personal office after he left the Obama administration. Some documents at Biden’s home seemed associated, as well, with his time as a senator, Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer said in January 2023.

The White House has said that classified records were turned over to the proper authorities after those with classified markings were identified and that Biden has cooperated with the probe.

Former President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, also have come under investigation after the discovery of classified documents at their homes.

The Justice Department closed its investigation into documents discovered at Pence's home in Indiana last year without criminal charges. Pence's lawyers had said a “small number” of classified materials were found at his home.

Trump, however, faces criminal charges in the classified documents case against him in Florida. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges over his handling of classified documents after he left the White House, including willful retention of national defense information, false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice and corruptly concealing documents.

Trump’s lawyers filed several motions Tuesday seeking to toss the criminal charges in the classified documents case. A trial is scheduled in May.

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