By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert Hur, the special counsel appointed to investigate whether President Joe Biden improperly handled sensitive government documents, is a former high-ranking Justice Department official with experience in prosecuting sensitive leak investigations.
On Thursday, he concluded that probe and found that Biden retained classified materials about Afghanistan after leaving the vice presidency in 2017 but said he will not be criminally charged.
Tapped for the role by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in January 2023, Hur was the U.S. attorney in Maryland during the Trump administration and then served as a litigation partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Garland said Hur would act as a quasi-independent prosecutor to determine whether classified records from Biden’s time as vice president had been improperly stored at the Democrat’s residence in Delaware and at a think tank in Washington.
Hur was appointed by Donald Trump in 2018 as the chief federal law enforcement officer in Maryland and left that position in early 2021.
Under Hur, the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office prosecuted the case of former National Security Agency contractor Harold Martin, who stole huge amounts of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies. At the time, officials called it the biggest breach of U.S. classified information on record.
In 2019, Martin was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to willful retention of national defense information.
A graduate of Stanford Law School and Harvard College, Hur served as top aide to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein before his appointment as the U.S. attorney in Maryland. He also clerked for late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
He was also an aide to Christopher Wray at the Justice Department before Wray’s appointment to lead the FBI.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Gram Slattery in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Jonathan Oatis, Lisa Shumaker and Noeleen Walder)