WASHINGTON — Newly appointed special counsel Robert Hur is an “establishment Republican” who will lead a Justice Department inquiry into President Biden’s handling of classified documents after the revelation that Biden stored records next to his Corvette inside his Delaware home’s garage — presenting a potentially long-running headache for the White House.
It’s illegal to mishandle classified information and the revelation that Biden stashed sensitive records at his Wilmington home follows the public disclosure Monday that 10 documents, some labeled “top secret,” were found at a Washington office space the 80-year-old used after his vice presidency.
Hur, 49, was nominated to be US attorney for Maryland in November 2017 by former President Donald Trump. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate the following March and took office on April 9, 2018.
Hur served fewer than three years as US Attorney, resigning in February 2021, soon after Trump left office. In his highest-profile case, he secured the conviction of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who was sentenced to three years in prison for using a self-published children’s book scheme to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to her political campaigns.
Prior to his appointment, Hur served under then-deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and a former DOJ official who knows Hur told The Post he was widely viewed as Rosenstein’s “sidekick.”
The two men often formed “a duo” at events inside the department and were seen together on social occasions as well, the source said.
Rosenstein, himself a longtime Maryland US attorney, was vilified by Trump and his supporters for appointing special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017 to investigate whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia ahead of the 2016 election, a probe Trump called a “witch hunt.”
While working under Rosenstein, Hur “liaised regularly on behalf of the Justice Department with the White House, Congressional committees, and federal intelligence, enforcement and regulatory agencies,” according to an online biography published by the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he was until recently co-chair of the firm’s Crisis Management Practice Group.
Hur worked from 2007 to 2014 as an assistant US attorney in Maryland and “prosecuted gang violence, firearms offenses, and narcotics trafficking, as well as white-collar offenses including financial institutions fraud, public corruption, mortgage fraud, tax offenses, computer network intrusions, and intellectual property theft,” his former law firm said.
Before that, Hur worked for current FBI Director Christopher Wray while Wray led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and “handled counterterrorism, corporate fraud, and appellate matters,” the firm said.
Federal political contribution records show few donations from Hur to political candidates. In January 2022, he gave $500 to Vermont’s long-shot and centrist Republican Senate candidate Christina Nolan, the US attorney in that state during the Trump administration.
In 2017, he donated $200 to Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, a centrist who later emerged as a top critic of then-President Donald Trump, according to OpenSecrets.org records. In 2008, he gave $201 to GOP presidential nominee John McCain.
“We’re not talking about someone who’s kind of a movement conservative by any means,” the former DOJ official who knows Hur said, calling him more of “an establishment Republican.”
Hur is “very nice” and a “people person” — as opposed to more inquisitorial members of the department who could “radiate evil,” the source facetiously remarked.
Special prosecutors often end up investigating matters outside their initial scope. In one notable example, Ken Starr in the 1990s started off investigating then-President Bill Clinton’s real estate deals and ultimately uncovered his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, resulting in Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and abuse of power.
Garland has resisted appointing a special counsel to investigate President BIden’s role in his son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden’s international business relationships during his vice presidency and in the years prior to his presidency.
But Hunter Biden listed the Wilmington, Del., residence as his home on a 2018 gun-purchase form and it’s unclear if he has brought any associates to visit his father there — after introducing his dad to associates from China, Mexico and Ukraine on official trips, at the vice president’s residence and at a 2015 DC restaurant gathering.
“If I was a betting man, I would not bet that this will result in some sort of gigantic thing that drive him from office,” the source who knows Hur said.
And while “it’s possible” the inquiry will evolve into a broader probe that implicates Hunter Biden, “I don’t think Garland put in Hur to really open a can of worms on Biden, I suspect it’s more to put a lid on the can of worms,” the source said.
Hunter Biden is currently under investigation by the US attorney’s office in Delaware for potential tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, money laundering and lying about his drug use on the gun-purchase form.
The former Justice Department official predicted a “stasis” where both Biden and former President Donald Trump — whose own handling of classified records is under investigation by special counsel Jack Smith following a dramatic Feb. 8 FBI raid — avoid criminal charges.
University of Michigan Law School professor Barbara McQuade, an Obama administration US attorney in Michigan, said that the appointment of Hur was a positive development.
“As Attorney General Garland said, he wants to ensure that there is public confidence in this investigation, and so appointing a special counsel creates a level of independence apart from the Department of Justice,” McQuade said. “The fact that he has chosen a former Trump US attorney should give the public confidence that there is no partisan political influence at work.”