Special Counsel Inquiry Leaves Biden and Garland in Awkward Spots

A new special counsel investigation into the discovery of classified documents in President Biden’s home and office puts both him and his attorney general in awkward positions as another special counsel investigates his predecessor for his own mishandling of secret papers.

Although the circumstances of the cases involving Mr. Biden and former President Donald J. Trump are markedly different, as a political matter, the new inquiry will muddy the case against Mr. Trump, who is already using it to argue that he is being selectively persecuted by the administration of a president he plans to challenge in 2024.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland sought to insulate the Justice Department from accusations of partisanship by picking Robert K. Hur, a veteran prosecutor and Trump appointee, to scrutinize the handling of papers by Mr. Biden’s team. The decision comes as the new G.O.P. majority in the House embarks on an aggressive examination of what it claims is the Biden administration’s use of government power against Republicans.

In ordering the appointment on Thursday, Mr. Garland assigned Mr. Hur to look into “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” at Mr. Biden’s think tank in Washington and his residence in Wilmington, Del.

The White House promised to fully cooperate while insisting prosecutors would find only unintentional errors. People close to the situation said several Biden associates had already been interviewed.

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