Attorney General Merrick B. Garland delivered a speech on the Appointment of Special Counsel

Good afternoon.

I am here today to announce the appointment of Robert Hur as Special Counsel, pursuant to the Department of Justice’s regulations governing such matters. In accordance with those regulations, I have today informed the elected members of each House of Congress about the appointment.

I’m joined today by John Lausch, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who conducted the initial investigation into the case I’m going to describe today.

On the evening of November 4, 2022, the National Archives Office of Inspector General contacted an attorney of the Ministry of Justice. He was told that the White House (Counselor) notified the Archives of documents containing classified information that were found in the office of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, located in Washington, DC E that office was not authorized for the storage of classified documents. . The public prosecutor also advised that those documents were found in the Archives.

On November 9, the FBI began an investigation, according to official records, to understand whether the information was used in violation of federal law.

On November 14th, pursuant to Section 600.2(b) of the Special Counsel regulations, I appointed US Attorney Lausch to conduct a preliminary investigation to inform my decision whether to appoint a Special Counsel.

Mr. Lausch has been the U.S. Attorney in Chicago since 2017. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the same office. I chose him to do the initial investigation because I was sure that his experience would ensure that it would be done in a professional and fast manner.

On December 20, President Biden’s personal attorney informed Mr. Lausch said additional documents containing classified information were discovered in the garage of the President’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. The advice of President Biden informed Mr. Lausch those documents are among other records from the period of service of the President as Vice President. The FBI went to the location and secured the documents.

On January 5, 2023, Mr. Lausch to me the results of his initial study and advised me that it should be further studied by a Special Counsel. According to the original research of Mr. Lausch, I concluded that, under the Special Counsel regulations, it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel. In recent days, as Mr. Lausch the study, the Ministry announced Mr. Hur for the appointment of a Special Counsel.

This morning, President Biden’s personal attorney called Mr. Lausch and said an additional document containing classified information was revealed at the President’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

When I first contacted Mr. Lausch about this issue, he said that he can lead the initial investigation but will not be able to accept a long-term position because he will leave the Ministry at the beginning of 2023 for private business. US Attorney Lausch and his team of lawyers and agents conducted this initial investigation with skill and speed. I thank them.

Earlier today, I signed an order appointing Robert Hur as Special Counsel for the case I just described. The document (order) allows him to investigate whether a person or an organization violated the law related to this matter. The Special Adviser will not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any Ministry office, but must comply with the Ministry’s regulations, procedures, and policies.

Mr. Hur had a long and distinguished career as a lawyer. In 2003, he joined the Department’s Criminal Division, where he worked on counter-terrorism, corporate fraud, and solicitation matters. From 2007 until 2014, Mr. Hur and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, where he prosecuted cases ranging from violent crimes to money laundering. In 2017, Mr. Hur in the Department of the Chief Executive Assistant Deputy Attorney General. In 2018, he was elected and confirmed as the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. As US Attorney, he oversaw some of the Department’s most important national security, government corruption, and other high-profile cases.

I will make sure that Mr. Hur everything he needs to manage his work.

As I said before, I strongly believe that the procedures of this Ministry can handle all investigations with integrity. But, under the regulations, the special circumstances here require the appointment of a Special Counsel for this matter.

This position emphasizes for the public the commitment of the Ministry to independence and accountability in sensitive matters, and making decisions based on only the facts and the law.

I believe that Mr. Hur will carry out his duty in a direct and urgent manner, and in accordance with the high traditions of this Ministry. Thank you all.

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