Published20 hours ago
A seasoned prosecutor who served in the Trump administration will act as special counsel to look into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.
Robert K Hur was appointed in 2018 by Mr Trump as the chief federal law enforcement officer in Maryland.
He left that position when President Trump left office in 2021.
The US Department of Justice appoints special counsels when an investigation poses potential conflicts of interest.
On Thursday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said it was “in the public interest” to appoint a special counsel to oversee the inquiry into Mr Biden.
“This appointment underscores for the public the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters, and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law,” Mr Garland said.
Veteran war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith serves as special counsel in the department’s inquiry into Mr Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information.
Mr Hur, a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School, has most recently been in private practice, as a partner at the Washington DC office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
Prior to his appointment as the US Attorney in Maryland, he also served as the top aide to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Over more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he has worked on cases involving national security, public corruption and other issues.
He was an aide to Christopher Wray at the justice department, before Mr Wray’s 2017 appointment to head the FBI.
Mr Hur has also clerked for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a conservative jurist who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan.
Thomas Dupree, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General who works alongside Mr Hur at Gibson, Dunn & Cratcher, described him as “a very talented lawyer, a man of excellent judgment and a man of the highest integrity”.
“I think it was an excellent choice by the Attorney General to put someone of Rob’s calibre in this role,” he said.
As special counsel, Mr Hur will have the authority to prosecute any crimes identified during the probe or to refer any matters for prosecution by federal attorneys. Mr Garland will retain the power to overrule his decisions but must notify Congress if that happens.
Mr Hur vowed to “conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial and dispassionate judgment”.
“I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favour, and will honour the trust placed in me to perform this service,” he said.